Developing independent and reflective learners
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As part of this action research a mixed group of Year five and six pupils had been developing their independent learning skills. The purpose of the research was to ascertain whether older primary pupils were motivated to use their independent learning skills, to develop additional abilities that they were lacking, as well as beginning to analyse their own learning through learning journals. Utilising teachers' and pupils' interviews to gain an understanding of their views on teaching and learning such skills, as well as observing pupils in completing activities which relied on the use of a wide range of abilities, ensured that qualitative data were gathered appropriately. Additionally, the pupils were involved in completing learning journals to use as working documents to encourage reflection on their learning throughout the week. The key findings found were that there was a benefit to using learning journals but children needed guidance on how to reflect on their thinking and their use of the journals. Furthermore, there is a difference between teacher and school intentions and practice when commencing a programme of activities that cater for more able and talented (MAT) pupils. Observations showed children using higher order thinking skills within specified lessons but they were not applied in the wider context of the curriculum. Further findings showed engagement by pupils during lessons was a key factor in identifying a link between thinking and learning skills as well as task outcome. The children had developed a variety of talents and strategies which they were starting to verbalise with support.
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