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Top tips for encouraging CYP to become independent learners

  • Provide the CYP with opportunities to self-monitor: 
    • Establish goals with the CYP and receive feedback from CYP/others.
    • Set goals depending on the CYP’s strengths and weaknesses.  Reflecting on their performance will help the CYP become more aware of their strengths, weaknesses and the progress they are making.  Recognition of progress will help build confidence and motivation.
    • Develop use of self and peer assessment to see whether the strategies that are being used are effective for achieving learning goals
    • Encourage the CYP to take responsibility for and be involved in their own learning
  • Encourage collaboration – give the CYP regular opportunities to complete quality, small group tasks and encourage them to learn from each other and develop their own ideas, rather than always looking to the teacher for answers
  • Use questioning as scaffolding to independent learning:
    • Gradual, step-by-step transfer of responsibility from the teacher to the CYP
    • Ask high order, open-ended questions, responding flexibly to CYP’s responses to promote thinking, problem-solving skills and deeper understanding
  • Develop communication that includes language focused on learning:
    • This helps the CYP to become more aware of the steps involved in learning, to understand their own learning style (link to EEF metacognition) and helps share thinking. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has a report on ‘Metacognition and self-regulated learning’ on their website – seven recommendations for teaching self-regulated learning & metacognition
  • Make learning accessible:  Consider using Rosenshine’s principles of instructions to help improve the quality of teaching, a set of 10 key findings:
    • Begin the lesson with a review of previous learning.
    • Present new material in small steps.
    • Ask a large number of questions (and to all CYP).
    • Provide models and worked examples.
    • Practice using the new material.
    • Check for understanding frequently and correct errors.
    • Obtain a high success rate.
    • Provide scaffolds for difficult tasks.
    • Encourage independent practice.
    • Plan monthly and weekly reviews.
  • Praise the effort instead of the result by using positive reinforcement – If the focus is on the learning journey and not only on the destination, a love of learning will develop alongside an understanding that mistakes are a necessary part of being successful.
  • Promote a growth mindset:  For some CYP the sense of success might not be their ordinary experience.  They might anticipate failure instead of being successful, especially if they compare themselves with others.  Use the language of ‘yet’ this may encourage CYP to learn from their mistakes and become resilient, begin to persevere and develop a thirst for knowledge.
  • Make learning goals clear so that the CYP can see what they are aiming for.  They will also be able to assess whether they’ve achieved it afterwards or not.

Last updated 21 August 2020

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