Helping children to guide their own learning

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By Paul Masonteacher

Discover ways to involve children in guiding their own learning


Involvement is the key to helping children to guide their own learning. Including children in the decisions that shape their learning promotes a greater sense of ownership and responsibility and creates higher levels of engagement and self-motivation. A powerful tool towards that goal is allowing children the opportunity to create their own success criteria, to allow them greater scope for self- and peer-assessment.

In her recent article, ‘Putting children in control’, Christine Jenkins quite rightly warned of the trap that teachers sometimes fall into, of thinking that copying down a learning objective or list of success criteria gives children a greater understanding of the task they’re working on. This is often not the case. For children to better grasp what is being asked of them, they need to create those criteria themselves.

Show the class examples of what they are being asked to produce

To help the class produce successful work, they first ought to see several examples of a quality learning outcome. If they are making a poster that uses persuasive language, then they should have access to several examples of effective posters and talk about what makes them work. If they are being asked to write a narrative, then they need to read strong short stories and be exposed to the language features, and so on.

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