As of a few weeks ago, Maryam and Danyal are done with their Physics iGCSE. During the last 2 weeks I took them to cafe after cafe, moving on once getting bored – I’d do my work and they’d do physics past papers. I wanted to make sure the last few weeks would be as intense as possible, for reasons highlighted in an earlier post.
Towards exam time they were both averaging around 85-90% in their exams – the A* mark is 77-83%, so hopefully they’ll get the grade, but of course anything can happen.
The way the kids learned Physics iGCSE was, from day 1, by doing past paper questions. That was it. For each question when they got stuck, which at the beginning was pretty much all the time, I explained all they needed to know to do the question. They then moved on to the next question, and by doing questions after question they eventually understood all the concepts. In fact that’s essentially how I was taught at university. The benefit of this is that all learning is done with a purpose – which is to answer the question at hand – and that makes one focused and it also sticks in one’s mind. It’s also a bit more like life – you have problems – and you just need to solve them – you don’t need to understand everything around the entire subject.
For their A-levels instead of teaching them I’ve decided to let them start learning things on their own, a skill which is perhaps more important than the knowledge gained from any iGCSE or A-level. I think they’re ready for it. I’ll set them past paper questions every week, they will do the research from a text book and the internet, they will then mark their own work as the exam board provides answers, and when they don’t understand I’ll explain it to them in the evenings and weekends – I doubt it will take more than 10 minutes a day.
I have also adopted the same system for my youngest daughter, Sabeen. She’s just doing foundation level Maths iGCSE past papers, hopefully moving onto higher level in a few weeks. I just set her work which she needs to finish. Whenever she gets stuck she’ll ask either Maryam, Danyal, or her mother, Isabelle.
This is pretty much how it works at my company, LaunchPad. Deliverables or targets are set and I do not care when people come into work or when they leave – I care about those deliverables or targets.
Anyway, so with me no longer teaching, I’m a retired teacher! How am I taking advantage of my free time?
I am focusing my time on business – it’s beginning to take off and I don’t want any distractions – I want my energy and mind to be intensely focused.