Guest Blogger! Ms T Ruberry: Supporting Independent Learning

Supporting independent learning in the classroom…

I have recently started to reflect upon and review how I get students to start a task and then support them with independent learning.  My usual method, up until now, has been to issue instructions, say ‘off you go’ and then charge into their midst (armed with a coloured pen) meanwhile shouting out helpful hints.  I will then single out a student to support which I will do using a loud voice in the hope that I will not only help that individual but all of the students in the class.

Having read Jamie Thom’s ‘ Slow Teaching’ I realise that I wasn’t helping the students work independently but actually hindering them by not allowing them take up time and ruining the quiet learning environment myself.

Now I have adopted a different approach.  I ensure that all instructions (and helpful hints) are issued at the beginning of the task one at a time.  I give students time to follow each of the instructions, ask questions, (leave any helpful hint on the board) and then stand to one side and watch to make sure each student starts work.  If a student needs support I work alongside them individually otherwise I give them time and space to begin the task.

Then I will ask each student (or pair) if they need support with any aspect of the task.  If they do I crouch down alongside then (or pull up a chair) and work quietly through the problem with them.

Following this approach, I have noticed students are now much more focused and used to working in silence.  Consequently, I am able to target more effectively those students who need support to start a task and then those who need help throughout the activity.

T Ruberry

Published by Natalie Reed

Assistant Headteacher - Teaching & Learning

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