What makes the difference? Interview with a Year 6 pupil.

On the last day of the summer term, just before they left Hovingham for their High Schools, I talked with some of the Year 6 pupils about Maths. I asked each child why they felt some children made more progress in Maths than others – and here are the transcripts to this part of our conversations.

Interviewer-  Why do you think some children are better than others at maths?

Pupil 1 – Some people are not doing what they’re supposed to be doing. If their teacher teaches them a method, they would sometimes not listen to it and then when they sit next to me they try to distract me. I get distracted into them and start talking to them. But then I carry on focusing on what I’m doing – my maths.

Interviewer – So to be good at Maths, you need to make sure that anyone that distracts you, you don’t get involved with it. It’s those children who are not concentrating that are not understanding, and are not so good.

Do you think that happens in both sets?

Pupil 1 – Yes, sometimes it does.

Interviewer – How do you think teachers can stop children getting distracted?

Pupil 1 – Move them into different places, where they can’t see the other person. Some boys sit on our tables, and I would rather move them and replace them with girls – like good girls.

Interviewer – So where possible maybe sitting boy / girl / boy, maybe? And being careful about who sits next to who?

Pupil 1 – Yeah.

Interviewer – Why do you think some people that are trying to disturb others, why are they not bothered about learning their maths?

Pupil 1 – They think that they are going to pass their SATs, just because they think they are clever. They got a level 4 in Literacy or Maths, so they say, I’m going to pass my SATs, and really they might not.

Interviewer- So actually some of them are quite clever people who just think they don’t need to be bothered, (yeah), they think they are brilliant, enough.

Right, because I tended to think that it was children in the bottom set that thought, I’m not very good at this, so I’m not going to bother. But your actually saying that sometimes it’s people who think too much of themselves. (yeah)

What about in the lower sets, do all of them work hard? Do they try and get better?

Pupils 1- Yeah, that’s what I did, I used to be in the lower set. I tried proper hard, hard as I can, and I moved up to both high sets.

Interviewer- Brilliant! Why did some of them not work as hard as you did?

Pupils 1- Because they were messing about, sitting with other people and copying what they were doing. Copying a person who might get the question wrong, they might get it wrong themselves.

Interviewer- So why are they not bothered?

Pupils 1- They’re not bothered because … like.. because they’re going to High Schools, .. they think, like, I’m going to drive cars and all that. They’re not bothered about their learning.

Interviewer- But how do they think they are going to afford to buy a car, if they can’t do Maths?

Pupils 1- They can’t. They have to, but one person all he thinks about is cars, but sometimes he cant be bothered doing his work, and that’s what I used to think, when I was in year 1, or something. Because I thought I was going to get a good car, but I listened to a speech. It was my mosque teacher.

Interviewer- What did the mosque teacher say to you that changed the way you work?

Pupils 1- He goes that if you take pride into yourself, you won’t get that far in your life. And then…. So I started from then. I started thinking, why am I started taking pride into myself, that I am going to get good cars, better than other people. I’m thinking that I have to work before I get good car.

Interviewer- So, what made the difference to you, was what a mosque teacher said to you.

Pupils 1- yeah.

At this point I continued to talk with the pupil and ask if he thought the mosque teacher would come to school, and if I could mention our conversation to the teacher. The pupil actually remembered that the teacher was actually a father of a younger pupil and thought it would be a good idea if I spoke with him and asked him to come into school and talk with pupils.



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