At St Mary’s, we are committed to providing your children with the best possible education. This means keeping up with, and putting into practice, modern educational theory and research.
Current thinking in education argues that, while at school, children progress best when they are taught not only the skills and knowledge content of the national curriculum, but are also taught the skills required to be good learners. This is sometimes known as “learning to learn”, or in the official language of education as “Assessment For Learning” (AFL).
Learning about learning means developing the skills to understand yourself as a learner, knowing how you learn best, cultivating strategies for overcoming difficulties, appraising your progress against targets, and above all, taking responsibility for your own personal development.
Each school chooses to implement this idea in its own way, and at St Mary’s we are doing so by introducing what we are calling our “Learning Toolbox”. This toolbox is a set of 10 principles that, when taken together, will help our children to become better learners. They are life skills that can, and should, be applied to any learning situation, both within and outside of the school context.
The principles are:
Courage: Taking risks, not being afraid to make mistakes, and learning lessons when things go wrong
Independence: Thinking for yourself, taking responsibility for making decisions
Problem Solving: Looking for novel solutions to challenges
Determination: Trying hard, not giving up in the face of difficulties
Resourcefulness: Being adaptable, flexible and avoiding a fixed mentality
Imagination/Creativity: Planning ahead, thinking things through, looking for ways to improve
Reflection: Thinking about what you have achieved and appraising yourself and your work against your goals
Collaboration: Sharing ideas and working together
Focus: Keeping your eye on your aims, managing distractions
Curiosity: Asking “what if..?” and trying things out just to see what happens
We hope that once these principles become familiar, both teachers and pupils will begin using them to talk meaningfully together about their own learning and development, both at home and at school.
You can help us to achieve this aim by using these terms in your own discussions with your children, whether you are talking about their school work, achievement in sports or clubs, social skills, or any other subject.
Children who are equipped with the vocabulary to talk meaningfully about their learning perform better at school!