Saturday, 19 November 2011

Independent learning and the 4 "B"s.

Trying to get students to learn independently can be a bit tricky. Many children are taught lots of good stuff but not how to find things out for themselves. In many schools there is a culture of "do this, learn this, and you will pass the exam".

I've been trying to get away from this and train some of my groups to embrace the 4 Bs. So far, I'm having some success with some of my classes, and in particular, one of my year 7 classes.

The 4 Bs of course are:

Students ask themselves: Have we done this before? When did we do this? What do I know about this?

Students use their resources to look up facts, words and/or grammar points they don't know.

Students ask the person nearest to them on their table for help and/or advice. If that person is unable to help, then they should ask up to 2 more others. If 4 people in the group don't know, it's probably a safe bet that none of the class knows. (All my students sit in mixed ability groups of 4-6 on clusters of tables around the room.)

If the first 3 steps are unsuccessful then they can ask me (the boss). I will advise them where to find the information or explain to them why they are not quite getting it.

So far this has been working well and the students have taken to it well. Rather than teaching lists of vocabulary I have been setting them tasks to create their own.

In an ideal world I would do this with all my students and all other subject teachers would do it, too.

But, for now, I think I'll try to get it right with a few groups and then see how it goes. I'll report back later.

Obviously, I have more faith in this than in learning Icelandic in my sleep.


Ms P said...

Love this - up dated version of the 'try 3 before me' that we use. Found some great Simpsons pics to go with each one

Clare Seccombe said...

Very interesting - I'm training my KS2s, particularly Y5 and Y6 to be independent learners, particularly to use what is already in their book before they put their hand up and ask. There is a culture of helping other people in the primary classroom that is absent in secondary (in my experience). I did a big independent learners lesson for Ofsted in September, but strangely that wasn't the kind of independence that they were looking for.....

Alex Bellars said...

fab. another Dom idea which will find its way straight into my classroom! thanks, Mr McG!