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Attitudes & aspirations

posted 8 Nov 2015, 10:26 by Craig Nicholson
There has been a plethora of research that argues the link between attitudes and aspirations and educational achievement. Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that positive attitudes and aspirations could potentially be mediating factors that can impact children’s educational achievements. Their analysis of the British cohort Study identified patterns between intergenerational poverty relating to attitudes and aspirations, and found that cognitive inequalities were being passed down to children relating to the notion of learned helplessness ( Gregg and Goodman, 2010).

Our academy recognises the importance of maintaining a positive environment where children can achieve higher outcomes. This was also commented on in our recent Ofsted Report. 

“Children flourish in a rich and stimulating learning atmosphere where every opportunity to inspire children to learn is provided”.

In numerous staff meetings, discussions have developed into how we can achieve improved parental engagement with the academy, and thus their children’s learning. We recognised that children from disadvantaged backgrounds were faced with challenges of equal difficulty with their peers and “they endorsed emergent entity theories of intelligence and were likely to show a lack of persistence in the face of academic challenge” (Brown, 2009, Persistence in the face of academic challenge for economically disadvantaged pupils).

In order to improve parental engagement and help parents to support their children to achieve better outcomes, a number of open school sessions in the form of 'Inspire days' are held across our academy.

The Inspire days are held so that children can share all aspects of their learning with their parents. The children take full responsibility for the planning of the day, from the invitations to the activities held on the day. In providing this environment, our aim is to provide higher quality interactions between parent and child, which in turn leads to a higher level of cognitive development and a raising of children’s aspirations and self-esteem.

This is in line with the view that early attachment relationships and quality of care are significant in relation to children’s educational outcomes. Research has recognised the importance of developing attitudes and aspirations, as they can hold more significance in relation to intellectual and social development than their socio-economic background. The impact of a child’s socio economic background is indeed more than about a lack of income. A Unicef report succinctly describes it in terms of a “poverty of opportunity and expectation”.

This is one of the reasons why the academy focuses on a lot of self-directed learning where children are intrinsically motivated to succeed through an inspiring curriculum which leads to improved self-esteem and higher aspirations. 

Masara Shan (Y4 teacher) - 8th November 2015