As we near the halfway point of this academic year, conversations with colleagues turn to how we can best support pupils with independent study. I find myself returning to the following question:
What aspirations do you have for the learning behaviours of your pupils?
The simple answer , for my pupils, is to feel the confidence and motivation that accompany being a successful independent learner.
So, what could effective independent learning look like?
|Adam’s teacher has asked him to solve a maths problem. He recognises the type of problem and remembers that he has used visual representations successfully in the past to help him. Then he flicks through his maths book to find a completed example to help jog his memory, before beginning the task.
|Adam’s teacher has asked him to solve a Maths problem, but he is unsure of what to do. He grabs some manipulatives and begins moving them around, to appear busy. When this doesn’t help, he asks for a pass to use the toilet.
|Natasha is revising for her A levels. She found revising for her GCSE’s overwhelming and stressful. In response, she decides to speak with a trusted adult and together they come up with a manageable revision timetable for the coming term.
|Natasha is revising for her A levels. She feels overwhelmed with the amount of content she needs to revise. She puts it off until a week before her first exam, cramming her work. As a result, she enters her first exam feeling exhausted and under-prepared.
Mobilising metacognition to support independent learning?
Metacognition is about the ways in which pupils monitor and purposeful direct their own learning. It offers strategies to foster independent learning, for pupils like Adam and Natasha.
Evidence from the EEF’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit, along with the evidence review undertaken by Professor Daniel Muijs and Christian Bokhove, indicates the positive potential impact of mobilising metacognition.
Recommendation 1 of the Metacognition and self-regulation guidance report suggests that teachers should acquire the professional understanding and skills to develop their pupils’ metacognitive knowledge.
This short animation: Metacognition: A brief explainer aims to cut through the complexity that surrounds metacognition by providing a clear example of what it looks like in practice. It could be used to start colleague conversations, build staff knowledge when designing and delivering Effective Professional Development on metacognition.
Take a look at the video and consider the implications for supporting your pupils at this mid-year point.