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Wednesday, 9 January, 2002, 17:20 GMT
Mozart to improve maths scores
It is hoped the scheme will improve academic ability
Schoolchildren will listen to the soothing tones of Mozart as they try to solve maths puzzles on Merseyside.

The youngsters will also be encouraged to drink glasses of water and take part in classroom aerobics to help them boost concentration levels.

The plan is being introduced by Knowsley - one of the poorest performing education authorities in the country.

Teachers will be schooled in the new techniques by staff from accelerated learning company Alite.

We are trying to introduce a model for learning that draws from scientific research

Alistair Smith, Alite

Knowsley's director of education and lifelong learning, Steve Mumby, told BBC News Online: "This is a very innovative approach, which we feel will make a real difference for the learners and teachers.

"The brain is a remarkable organ and needs exercise and stimulation in the right way to get the best results for learning."

Alite founder Alistair Smith said it was the first time an entire local education authority was being trained in how to make lessons more interactive.

He said: "We want to get the point across that children are all different and respond to different teaching methods.

"One of the elements of the model is that some pupils react better to visual teaching aids, some to audio, and some like to move around more.

Alite logo
Alite says children respond to different methods

"We want to enable teachers to be aware of those differences and to have the tools to adapt their teaching to get the most out of every child.

"We are also looking at ways to reduce stress levels among children, for example by changing the way a teacher might ask them a question.

"We are trying to introduce a model for learning that draws from scientific research, rather than simply common sense or intuition."

He added that getting children to exercise, listen to soothing music or eat and drink properly were "added bonuses", but not the main objective of the scheme.

He said: "Teachers do a difficult job in difficult circumstances and they can sometimes lose faith in it.

Text messages

"I want them to feel more positive about their professionalism and give them tools based on real scientific research on real children that they can use in the classroom.

"It is not about drinking water or stretching exercises or listening to music - those things come along as a bonus."

The scheme is the latest in a series of teaching methods in Knowsley.

In the past, the authority has introduced free Premiership football match tickets for improving students, and revision tips via mobile phone text messages.

The three-year scheme, Teaching and Learning Approach Knowsley, is being introduced on Thursday.

It will be followed by a series of training and events for all teachers in Knowsley.

Click here to go to Liverpool
See also:

22 Nov 01 | Education
Truancy rates rise
22 Nov 01 | Education
Buckinghamshire top at GCSE
25 Apr 01 | Education
Text messaging soap to aid revision
22 Aug 99 | From Our Own Correspondent
The Mozart Effect: Boost or bust?
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