Why and how can we make our pupils ready to learn independently?
Teachers who are less successful at fostering learner independence generally have more fixed attitudes towards pupils as learners and learning than their more successful colleagues. One study found that although they said that it is important to promote independent learning, less successful teachers felt unable to make the necessary changes to their classroom practice to achieve it. Some teachers feel that circumstances beyond their control, such as being tied to a set syllabus, inhibit their ability to teach effectively. Others want pupils to show they are ready for independence but do not themselves manage to promote that readiness. For example, a teacher might comment that pupils are impatient with each other or that they don’t value what each other has to say, but not take steps to help their pupils learn how to work together.
If you haven’t always been able to make the changes to your practice you’ve wanted to make, this activity may help you to reflect on why and what could help you to make these changes. Make three columns headed: Change, Barrier, Support.
- Identify three changes you have thought about making in your teaching and that you have so far failed to implement and briefly describe them in column 1
- List the reasons in column 2
- Identify the sources of support in column 3 that might have helped you to make the changes, for example further training in a particular area in order to increase your confidence or asking a trusted colleague how they went about overcoming a particular problem.
- Would you find it helpful to use your reflections to draw up a personal development plan either to help you revisit the changes you wanted to make in your teaching, or to bring about other changes to your practice?
- Would you find it helpful to share your experiences with a trusted colleague?
You can find out more about fostering learner independence on the TLRP Learning how to learn project at: http://www.tlrp.org/proj/phase11/phase2f.html
You can find out more about how a group of teachers went about making changes to their practice on the GTC’s Research of the Month website at: http://www.gtce.org.uk/policyandresearch/research/ROMtopics/afl/