Learning to Learn
At Longthorpe we believe that children need to be in a state of readiness to learn before they can begin to learn. This is enabled by creating a sense of belonging and connected-ness alongside a belief in the uniqueness of the individual. We aim to build positive self esteem in children so that they feel ready to tackle learning opportunities and challenges.
The teacher works towards these by establishing positive relationships, being a good role model and facilitating an environment that promotes independence and autonomy and simultaneously provides for children’s physiological needs.
The Concept Phase
Once the children are open to learning, the teacher pinpoints objectives. These are taken from the key skills progression through the National Curriculum. The objectives are twinned with purposeful intended outcomes aiming to develop skills, knowledge, concepts and attitudes. These include our Learning Traits and Thinking Skills.
An immersion is set up to motivate and inspire the children. This may be a visit, a role play or a range of resources carefully selected to elicit questions, queries or investigations in line with a theme that matches to the subject objectives and the learning outcomes. Children will pose questions and help decide upon a line of enquiry.
Children will explore aspects of the intended outcomes as they discover, experience and research areas for learning. We aim for pupils to move in and out of the learning and practice zones so that they are challenged and supported in new tasks and consolidate and reflect in practice tasks.
The Conflict Phase
Once the children have a focus for their research or discovery the teacher will utilise an appropriate method to take the children into the PIT. This will make them wobble, wonder and question at a deeper level. Such methods could be Philosophy for Children, Mantle of the Expert, or in a simpler format a KWL grid( Know / Want to know /Learned). At this stage the pupils will continue to explore by experiencing, observing, and accessing a wide variety of resources (most likely some from the immersion stage) in line with their learning intention. Later they will decide upon other personalised methods of discovery. They will most likely be recording specifics to investigate and hypotheses. They will use a range of tools and strategies to record questions, avenues to follow, findings so far, further questions and success of learning methods.
The Construct Phase
Here the children will be taught (in the first instances and later will self-select) how to choose and use tools to develop critical thinking under the general umbrellas of organising, reporting and judging. These will enable analysis, comprehension and evaluation e.g. flowcharts, explaining and ranking. To balance their critical left brain development children will also be guided to apply, create and invent therefore developing their right brain creative thinking. This may be through design challenges, problem solving, synthesising or providing alternatives – SCAMPER techniques and Thinking Keys may be utilised as tools to unlock creativity. The children at this stage will be coming back out of the PIT as they note trends, find answers, collate results, formulate conclusions etc
The Consider Phase
As the children progress through the learning cycle they will reflect upon their learning journey and evaluate resources and methods of recording, critical thinking tools, and creative developments that arose from the learning opportunities. This appraisal may be approached through Assessment for Learning, making judgements against success criteria, peer and self evaluation and a consideration of metacognition against “My Learning Brain”. This will enable learners to recognise their strengths as a learner and start to make decisions as to tools and strategies to deploy in other learning challenges.
Another element to consider is that of celebrating achievements in learning processes and finished products. This has 2 facets – the formal celebration often for guests / parents, which develops hosting and presentation skills and the informal side; peer to peer, class to class, assemblies etc. In some instances pupils will consider whether their learning has had a real impact e.g. charity fund raising or hypothetical impact e.g. new road layout for a town. In revisiting the initial query and looking at the findings other questions may come to light beginning the process from a new starting point.