Learning to learn

Knowing what to do when you don’t know the answer is one of the most important outcomes of education. Over the past two years, we have done a great job of ensuring continuity of learning for our boys. Curriculum and pedagogy have been reimagined as we pivoted between face-to-face learning and the home learning program. Teams of teachers have worked together and collaborated in new ways. Our students worked with independence and increased flexibility to manage their own time.

At a recent Teaching & Learning network meeting, colleagues across a number of Catholic schools shared examples of behaviours that they were seeing in the classroom and in the school yard. What emerged, was a pattern of behaviour that extended across our schools – our young people are finding it challenging to re-learn the routines and the ways of working of the school environment. Perhaps this is the lost learning that media outlets were talking about throughout the pandemic?!

Throughout periods of home learning, students missed on opportunities to witness other learners, their teachers and peers, modelling effective learning strategies. Parent engagement is a positive contributor to student learning outcomes and this week, we offered Study Skills Workshops to Year 10 and 11 students and parents. Mrs Marina Ensor shared information with our families about brain function, strategies for embedding new knowledge and terminology into long term memory, approaches to note taking and organisation.

Reading over notes doesn’t lead to effective retention of knowledge – students were advised to instead summarise their notes in the own words, reduce summaries to dot points and then onto cram cards, which can be stored in boxes and regularly reviewed through the exam preparation period. Students were encouraged to use images and mind maps to organise ideas and make connections. Marina also emphasised the importance of students talking to parents or peers about their understanding of key concepts, as teaching someone else a concept.

We look forward to offering a similar experience to Year 9 students later in the year.

Catherine Spurritt

Deputy Principal-Learning & Teaching