Encouraging children to work through problems independently
According to a collection of academic research published on the London Metropolitan University website recently, students feel they learn best under the following conditions:
- at their own pace;
- at times and places of their own choosing;
- often with other people around, especially fellow-learners;
- when they feel in control of their learning.
- providing learners with resource materials;
- whetting learners appetites to learn;
- providing learners with chances to test out their learning;
- giving learners feedback on their progress;
- helping learners to make sense of what they have learned.
By giving pupils regular opportunities to work by themselves, without the constant support of an adult, parents and schools are aiding children to develop the skills that they will need to draw on at every stage of their education.
In the majority of schools, children are already being asked to plan their own investigations in science, identify what they would like to find out in a history/geography topic and to set their own progress targets in numeracy and literacy.
Speaking at the annual conference for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Jon Overton, a teacher from inner-London, argued that children now need a broad range of independent skills:
'What we need to equip our young people with are skills; enquiry skills, the ability to innovate. That is what universities are saying is lacking, that is what employers say is lacking; transferrable skills that ultimately will make a difference in the life of a young person.'