With NAPLAN approaching, one Queensland teacher has shared her tips for anxious students, parents and teachers.
Cindy Holmberg-Smith is the founder of educational company, Lizard Learning – a website which provides resources to help busy teachers motivate students and improve academic outcomes.
Below, Holmberg-Smith outlines what she believes are the best ways to prepare for the high-stakes national literacy and numeracy tests
TOP 5 TIPS FOR STUDENTS
1. Try to do your homework every night – a little revision goes a long way.
2. Think strong – just give it a go and try your best when doing your homework.
3. Speak Up – if you are feeling worried, talk to your mum, dad or carer. It will be OK.
4. Prepare yourself – Go to bed early the night before NAPLAN tests, have breakfast, take a water bottle and a healthy lunch.
5. Relax – NAPLAN won’t hurt. It will be all over in a couple of days.
TOP 6 TIPS FOR PARENTS
1. Encourage your child with their homework, short sessions of classwork revision and NAPLAN revision during the year.
2. Encourage confidence. Encourage your child to “give it a go’’, “try your best’’, “do what you can’’. Reinforce that your expectations are that the child does his or her best.
3. Discuss feelings and concerns. Let your child know that feeling anxious is normal; show empathy and listen to their fears, concerns and worries; reassure them of your expectations.
4. Maintain a caring, positive attitude. Be approachable; encourage interest activities as well as schoolwork. Your child needs to feel safe and secure at this anxious time.
5. Prepare your child. Have your child go to bed early, have breakfast, and have their water bottle and a nutritional lunch prepared. Make sure they have their test materials and requirements ready beforehand. Try to keep minimal stress levels at home. Arrive at school on time.
6. Keep perspective. This is just a test in time; just one form of assessment; success is not just determined by a test.
TOP 10 TIPS FOR TEACHERS
1. Develop a calm, relaxed and positive classroom; don’t make a big thing of NAPLAN.
2. NAPLAN readiness begins in all year levels, from the beginning of the teaching year. Teach, revise and reinforce the basic skills and fundamentals.
3. Practise different ways of asking the same question.
4. Provide exposure to practice tests or sections of practice tests so students can see the format of NAPLAN-type questions and recreate test conditions.
5. Use affirmative, positive and encouraging language with students.
6. Keep open parent/teacher/student communication. Keep parents informed of the skills being taught, how they can help with revision, where they can find practice tests.
7. Set aside dedicated time for NAPLAN-related questions, concerns or queries in the lead-up to the tests.
8. Cover relaxation strategies and techniques.
9. Make sure students know the dates of the tests as well as the stationery and other particular requirements. Teachers should have classroom requirements prepared in advance of testing.
10. Keep perspective – “this is only one test in time’’.