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The different modes of learning are usually labelled ‘play-based’ and ‘formal’ but this, however, tends to ignore the fact that there are many modes of learning. argues, children learn in many different ways, through active learning, social participation, meaningful activities, by relating new information to prior knowledge, through strategic thinking, by engaging in reflective thinking, by restructuring prior knowledge, through understanding, not simply memorisation, and through practice, amongst other methods, all of which are subject to individual developmental differences. Choosing the ‘correct’ method for learning (i.e., the method most likely to achieve the desired learning outcome) is usually a case of matching the method of learning to the individual child in terms of their abilities, thus fostering an atmosphere of motivated learning.This approach can, however, be difficult in classrooms with children of mixed abilities, leading to situations of frustration occurring in the bright children, who do not feel sufficiently challenged, and in the less able children, who feel they cannot cope with the things that are asked of them and is difficult when there are so many assessments to prepare children for. One of the skills, therefore, that a good Foundation Stage or Key Stage 1 teacher needs to possess is the ability to match a child’s ability to the best learning method for them in order to achieve the most efficient mode of learning for each and every child. This can, however, in practice be very difficult, with teachers at these levels being pressed for time and under pressure to deliver certain learning outcomes, with the development of the new Foundation Stage Profiles (see DfES, 2007 and QCA, 2008), for example, which have basically set a curriculum for Foundation Stage children and through the National Curriculum which begins at Key Stage 1 level.


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