The Perse School

Learning to learn

15 Jan 2015

This week, our Year 9 and Year 10 students have been taking part in ‘learning skills’ sessions to learn about study skills. Head of Middle School at The Perse, Richard Cross explains what it’s all about.

What enables a pupil to do well? Is someone who is simply ‘good at mathematics’ going to be a good learner in mathematics?

The most effective education takes place when students are truly engaged with the process. Pupils in Year 9 take part in a Learning Day, focusing on their learning habits and skills. We have framed the day around developing a growth mindset (Dr Carol Dweck) and the work of Professor Guy Claxton and his ideas of Learning Power, broken down into the Four ‘R’s. Habits of mind are ‘Resilience’ (the way you deal with yourself) and ‘Relating’ (the way you deal with others). Learning skills are ‘Resourcefulness’ (the ways you think) and ‘Reflection’ (the way you improve as a learner).

The importance of meta-cognition (sometimes known as ‘learning to learn’) is supported by a great deal of educational research. These self-regulation approaches aim to help pupils think about their learning more explicitly, teaching strategies to set goals and monitor and evaluate their own academic development. It is essentially about managing one’s own motivation towards learning.

The potential impact of this approach is very high, but it can be difficult to achieve as it requires pupils to take greater responsibility for their learning and develop their understanding of what is required to succeed.

The pupils take part in a carousel, looking in depth at each ‘R’. They are also provided with a work book and the day is revisited in various tutorial sessions throughout the term. In addition, Year 9 will also take part in a ‘Learning Skills Fortnight’, where they will be introduced to a number of different strategies in their subject lessons to identify approaches which work for them. In Year 10, ideas about memory and meta-cognition are revisited throughout the year.

What is the point of school? The point of school is to improve.

Take a look at the guest blog written by Richard Cross, for more information about ‘learning to learn’.


(Graphic reproduced with kind permission by Dr Hawes)

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