It’s NAPLAN time again – it comes around quickly each year, doesn’t it? haven spent some time with industry experts to discuss what the test is all about and how you can best prepare your kids for it.
If you have a child in Years 3, 5, 7 or 9 at school, you would’ve no doubt heard the word “NAPLAN” pop up in conversation over the past month or so. Love it or loathe it, the annual test is back on our kids’ radars again this month.
A spokesperson for the Department of Education and Training says the department is always focused on improving students’ literacy and numeracy and NAPLAN is just one used tool to measure its success.
“While NAPLAN is an important tool to help teachers understand how students are performing and help schools to best meet the needs of our young people, it is not the be-all and end-all,” the spokesperson says.
Mabel Park State High School teacher Naomi Whitehouse agrees. As a secondary English and Humanities teacher on Brisbane’s southside, Naomi says that while the data gathered helps teachers tailor their programs, your child’s NAPLAN results do not define them as a student in the eyes of the school or their teacher.
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP THEIR KIDS
As a parent, Naomi says you can always continue your kids’ learning at home by encouraging them to watch the news, help them build resilience by encouraging them to keep trying even when they fail, and help them develop practical skills that enhance their literacy and numeracy.
“Instead of spending money and time on the plethora of NAPLAN preparation booklets that have cropped up over the years, try to incorporate basic literacy and numeracy into your everyday tasks,” Naomi explains. “As an adult, you make decisions using your literacy and numeracy skills everyday – the challenge is teaching kids to do this too.”
HOW KIDS CAN HELP THEMSELVES
Naomi says when it comes to the kids themselves, they need to focus on being prepared for school every single day – not just on NAPLAN days.
“Eat a good breakfast everyday and help them pack a healthy lunch,” Naomi says. “Make sure they are prepared for school everyday by always getting them to pack their bag with everything they need the night before.”
If kids are forgetting to pack something for school, parents can help out by creating a laminated schoolbag checklist that lives in their room or in a common area, for example. Most importantly though, Naomi says kids need to read as much as they can.
“Students often ask me how they can improve their literacy skills but when I ask them if they read at home, it’s usually a resounding no. You cannot expect to improve if you do not read – it’s really that simple,” Naomi says.
Here are Naomi’s top tips for getting your kids NAPLAN ready. These tips will help your kids feel that literacy and numeracy actually matter and encourage them to see connections between life and school:
- Get them to help you measure the ingredients for dinner and ask them to work out how much you would need to double or triple the recipe etc.
- Take them shopping and ask them which product is better value per 100g etc.
- If you catch public transport, ask them which would be the best bus/train to catch to get to your destination on time.
- Have them wear an analogue watch and ask what the time is throughout the day.
- If your child is lucky enough to have an allowance, teach them how to manage their money and talk about percentages.
- Get them to read to you regularly and talk about what they are reading.
- If they feel strongly about an issue, encourage them to write a letter to the local minister or even the Prime Minister.
- Get them to watch the news and discuss the world’s events with you.
Words // Nicholas Grech