Attainment: How to fill the Gap

With the unlikelihood of schools not fully re-opening in the UK before September, educators are concerned about the widening gap of attainment between students.

Research evidence suggests Covid-19 is creating an attainment gap between school age children irrespective of the support they are currently receiving from their teachers at school.

The Education Endowment Foundation [EEF] have updated their existing research on June 3, 2020 highlighting the potential impact school closures caused by Covid-19 is likely to have on the attainment gap.


  • Any effective online remote learning on a personalised level will reduce the extent to which the gap widens.
  • Online sessions tailored to individual needs will supplement the support students have received so far from their teachers.

What Parents / Carers Can Do:

Ensure all gaps in the knowledge of your children in the core subjects: English and Maths in particular are adequately filled by signing them up for online individualised sessions.

How Can this be Done:

To consolidate learning, Cornerstone Consults teachers have been offering online tuition at affordable prices, focusing on two main strategies:

  1. Scaffolding: We are breaking learning into segments for every student.
  2. Feedback: By giving students time to talk while working, time to ask questions, time to practice and time to pause in order to receive feedback, we believe students are given the chance to assimilate and remember what they have learned.

Enquire today, as our online teachers are willing to assist you to get the right support for your child.

Contact us:




Source: Hurdles

Skills Deficits or Areas for Growth?

Great thoughts here. Practitioners can gain a lot from this starting from me.

The Pediatric Profiler ™

Training And Development

Why, when looking at helping children, do we focus on calling areas that they have yet to master as deficits and disorders, rather than areas for further growth with directed instruction?  Why do we take a deficits-based approach rather than a strengths-based approach?

Whether a child would benefit from more reading instruction using a multisensory, structured, language-based approach to master reading and spelling, more instruction and support in the development of social emotional skills, or instruction to expand his vocabulary and language skills through verbal and nonverbal means, we need to frame these are areas for further growth to add to his list of strengths. We would increase the child’s self-image and confidence by focusing with the child on where his current strengths are and where are areas of future strengths, which can be developed through individual, focused instruction.

This would require us to  not talk about having the student…

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Nurturing Language Development Skills

Oral Skills are Vital for a child’s Development

Following on from reading and it’s nourishment for development it is discovered that exposure to language-early language processing abilities, are associated with the amount of language children hear, (Fernald and Weisleder (2011) and Hoff (2006). Even though we might all agree that we know this, the truth is, in this digital age words [oral language] is becoming scarce in our homes and social gatherings. it is being supplemented with ‘Ipads’ and ‘Tablets’ unintentionally or at times deliberately to ensure the child does not ‘disturb’ or ‘distract’the adult from getting on with their own affairs which range from, cooking, cleaning, studying, texting and so on.

Fernald et al (2006) suggests that if a child is dawdling at understanding language relative to his or her peers, it might be because the child is processing one part of a complex sentence while the speaker continues to talk. This attitude has a tendency of leaving the child with a backlog which means s/he might lose some part of what is being said, indicating that, “processing speed and early language skills are fundamental to intellectual functioning,” Marchman and Fernald (2008).

The impact of the environment on the development of the language of children between ages one and three are immense. For instance, in some homes children are exposed to far less language and a much smaller range of vocabulary, whereas in some homes the child could be exposed to a high level of vocabulary. According to the recent research conducted by Hackman and Farah (2009), the language parts of the brain are affected by poverty more than other areas which could result in differences related to brain structure at the age of five.

Make  Vocabulary Building Fun for Children

Bloom (2000) suggests that language learning occurs best when talk is about objects or actions of immediate interest to children. It is believed that adults who are skilled at creating occasions of joint attention [this is the time when adults and children attend to the same object or event] have children who have more advanced vocabularies Akhtar et al (1991). 

Engage and Interact with Them

Bornstein et al (2008) believe young children benefit from interacting with adults who offer prompt, contingent and appropriate reactions to their utterances. This idea, based on the Behaviourism theory by Skinner (1957) and the Language Acquisition Support System [LASS] by Bruner (1983), reveals the importance of interacting with children and the positive implications of this on language development. Tamis-Le Monda et al (2006), after examining children at 6, 12, 24 and 40 months express that parents who are sensitive to the focus of their children’s attention and interests; who take turns and share periods of joint focus and expressing positive affection, are likely to have faster rates of cognitive development.

For now hope you’ll ponder on these simple but vital points that indicates we all have a duty of care to engage with young children around us verbally, in order to develop their vocabulary in readiness for school and education as a whole. 

Hoping to continue with this, thanks for reading .

© YemYola 2015

The Reliable Counsellor

Source: The Reliable Counsellor

Reading: Nourishment for Development

Book reading has been found to have the power to create interactional contexts that nourish language development, Dickson et al (2012). They argue that language development and other conceptual and behavioural competencies that emerge in children occur simultaneously.

Research has indicated that environmental factors do play a major role in determining the speed and ultimate success with which children learn to read Harris et al, (2011). As a result, various effective methods have been considered to foster and improve language acquisition which makes language development easier for children to regulate their thoughts, feelings and actions or abilities which are essential to social development and school success, Blair (2002). Dionne et al (2003), found heritability effects could affect the behaviour of toddlers but not expressive vocabulary which is related to less aggression. Furthermore, Hopper et al (2003) suggest that expressive and receptive language deficits in kindergarten children could lead to later conduct problems. On a whole, it could be argued that language is a tool to help children regulate their own emotions and behaviours and build relationships with others, an idea that resonates with Vygotsky (1986).

Dickson et al (2011) believe there are six principles that describe environmental factors that spur language learning. They argue that these principles could be activated as children hear books being read aloud.

‘For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will   guide us until we die.’          Psalm 48:14. NLT.

Recently I read something that made me think about the work of a guide. There are a number of incidences where we need a guide. One such situation is when we go on holiday or go into another country for a research or even for journalism. The reason why a guide is needed is to show us the ropes. If we decide to go alone, there is a tendency we fall into difficulties like being mugged, losing our way and consequently getting lost. This image of a guide for the first time caught my attention and I saw Psalm 48 verse 14 in a clearer perspective, realising God intends to be my guide. For the verse says, “he will guide us (me) until I die,” which led me to ask:
How can God guide me?
To answer this question let’s look at the principles of following a guide. These are bounding for the person who wishes to be guided as:
They must stay with the person who intends to guide them which could be done in a number of ways in the 21st century. Firstly, by physically staying beside the guide or allowing themselves to be guided remotely. The advancement of technology has made it possible for us to be directed and guided through phones, apps or any source of communication to enable us achieve our goals.
This same principle would need to be applied if we desire that the Lord be our guide. I hope you and I can make huge efforts to let the Lord guide us- there is safety in doing so.
Thanks for reading this today. I pray you yield yourself to the Lord and let Him be your guide forever.
 © YemYola

The Brain and Multitasking

Probably you are one of those who boast of successfully multitasking or you genuinely admire someone who proclaims they multitask. Do we really multitask? If we do at what cost?

Levitan (2015) argues that, trying to concentrate on a task like an unread email in your inbox can reduce your effective IQ by 10 points. His views resonate with Miller (2010) who is of the view that our brains are ‘not wired’ to multitask effectively.


Earl Miller, a Neuroscience professor, states that mixed selectivity neurons which are dominant in the prefrontal cortex (2010), which is the most intelligent part of our brains- where most thought, learning and planning takes place (2013) are very helpful for multitasking. As this part of the brain becomes fully developed between the age of 18-20 years, the adolescent years, children, particularly those who have been brought up to do a number of things like watch TV, play games and probably eat at the same time would be able to do so into adulthood.


Nevertheless, the process of working on many different things at the same time, researchers suggest is considered as the brain switching from one task to another rather than multitasking. Our brain, it is opined, has the tendency to multitask because it consists of a number of neurons that can be called upon when doing a number of different things. This is because what they do just changes depending on the demands of the task, Miller (2013).


Resonating with this idea, Doser (2014) believes, being involved in the act of ‘multitasking’ takes up more of our time than we could imagine. She argues that constant interruption where one has to constantly switch attention backward and forward while working on an important cognitive task means it is likely to take about fifty percent [50%] longer to accomplish it. Concurring with that idea, Levithan (2015) suggests even though we believe we are all doing more than one thing, most of the time, doing so actually slows us down.


Similarly, Miller (2010) states, “The challenge with multitasking – or switching between different thoughts and tasks – is that you lose focus on what you’re doing, and the quality of your work may decrease if you’re trying to do too many things at once.” Although we all tend to believe we multitask. It might be beneficial if we do pause to think of what we do and how we do it then analyse for ourselves if we do multitask or generally switch between tasks which effectively takes up much more of our time.


It is argued that when those who multitask are in a situation where multiple sources of information are coming from the external world or emerging out of memory, they’re not able to filter out what’s not relevant Gorlick (2009). The inability to filter relevant information means they’re slowed down by that irrelevant information. This probably explains why a university student says, “I was in the library trying to write a 2,000-word essay when I realised my Facebook habit had got out of hand…Before you know it, a couple of minutes has turned into a couple of hours and you haven’t written a thing’ Clark (2009).


From my own point of view, I realise there is a possibility one can do more than one thing at a time if it is a task that is not cognitively demanding like hoovering and listening to music or ironing and watching TV. If however it involves writing an academic essay, or general studying that involves making essay notes or detailed planning for an examination and so on, the brain would more or less be switching from one task to another rather than processing both thoughts at the same time. If the time we are to spend on such a task is limited in the first instance, we are likely to spend more time than usual or would finish within the stipulated time but have achieved very little. When we do stop eventually without focusing on one task, we might be unable to categorically say we have achieved our goals of studying or preparing for the task as there are likely to still be ‘gaps in our knowledge’.


What researchers are suggesting and an idea to resonate with, is taking one cognitive task at a time. Focusing on it for sixty [60] minutes at least before doing anything else would enable us to achieve our goals faster. It might sound like an ‘old school’ type of speech but in the end, we relatively achieve more that way rather than convincing ourselves we are multitasking.

© YemYola 2015


Your Window of Opportunity: Lessons to Succeed

Its speedy act was intriguing and compelling .

Its speedy act was intriguing and compelling.

Travelling at about 20 km/h one wet morning on my way to work, I noticed that a squirrel shot out of the shrubs and darted across the road like a rocket.

Within a flash however it came back. Its speedy act was intriguing and compelling that I glanced inquisitively to know what it was up to. What happened after however took me by surprise. The squirrel had thought it had found a gap within the traffic to enable it race across the road to the other side. So, as the vehicles were stationary it came on to the pavement. Unfortunately, it got too close to the tyres of the vehicle in front of me which suddenly rolled like whirlwind so it darted back behind the shrubs.

I giggled, thinking that was the end of the squirrel’s journey but how surprised I was. It disappeared for about two seconds then reappeared. This time, it perched on the fence intently watching the traffic, waiting for another moment, another gap in the traffic for it to make its journey across the road.

The traffic moved on so I was not there to see the moment it took to its heels and darted across the road but the scene of that day [over a year ago] has never left me.

I became curious about the intelligence of the squirrels and found out that,

Squirrels are capable of communicating and remembering complex messages, making and executing plans, completing arithmetic calculations, and anticipating the movements of human beings. 

From my description of the morning, I am sure you will concur that it is true. I was amazed at the shrewdness of the squirrel.

I learnt a thing or two from that moment and I would like to share it with you:

First, the squirrel miscalculated- thinking it was safe to act and moved, making progress to act. However, it still contemplated its action when on the pavement, giving its plans a second thought to ensure safety. It realised, ‘I have miscalculated’ so dashed back to safety.

Nevertheless, it didn’t go back sulking, calling a pity party, blaming others that gave it a false alarm, it still came back out again-not losing sight of its purpose. Many times you and I have found ourselves in a situation where we thought it was all okay and we acted. To act is fine but when we realise we are going to jeopardise our reputation do we go ahead nevertheless and lose everything because we don’t want to bear ‘shame’ and blame those who hinted us about the business/ career or whatever we set out to do? Or do we decide to come back not accepting defeat but knowing we are yet to get our facts right therefore ready to rethink?

The squirrel at first darted into hiding but felt nothing to be ashamed of. Instead, it was interested in achieving its dream of getting to its destination of crossing the road. To that effect, it came back out, perched on the fence and began to strategize all over again – watching for a gap in the traffic but also working out the logistics of crossing the road safely.

Many times we tend to give up our ideas and dreams pretty quickly especially if someone else considers it as odd.  There are times too we give up our hopes and accept failure just because we do not want to be hurt physically or psychologically. On other times we just want to ‘fit in’ so prepared to ‘trade our birth right’ forgetting someone paid the ultimate price of giving you that right to live in the first place.

What now can we do?

Begin to plan again. Go back to the drawing board [in the case of the squirrel it was the fence]. Do not take your eyes off your goal or dream. Instead, gaze at it keenly thinking of how you would do it, how you would achieve it. Ignore the screeching of the tyres, just work out how you are going to cross the road without being grazed by them [all what the squirrel plans to do].

I believe the more you stay focused, being prepared to plan while patiently waiting for an opportunity and positively hoping to succeed, it would come through for you and even though the spectators are not patient enough to watch you walk into your dream [as I could not wait to see the squirrel cross], they would all know within them that the next time they want to look for you, you would be on the other side where things are beginning to happen.

I hope you can find the courage within you to plan, persevere and pursue your dreams. You are the only one that can stop them from happening.

The Bible says, “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.” Proverbs 4:26. That is exactly what the squirrel did that day.

Wishing you the very best as you determine not to give up but to keep moving forward.

YemYola © 2015.

Dare to Hope in the Lord: 2015 the Year of Hope

Dare to Hope in the Lord: 2015 the Year of Hope.

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