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Who are the best learners?... Are you curious?

    16 October 2020

Who are the best learners?... Are you curious?

Professor John Hattie says, ‘if you ask children who are the best learners and why? – too many will say those who just seem to get it, or are naturally talented.’ Hattie also says that ‘these are the very attributes that do not relate to learning, learning involves a challenge. Learning involves being on the edge of knowing and not knowing’.

As teachers, our challenge is to create situations in the classroom where there is disequilibrium, an imbalance between what is already understood and what is encountered. At Sherfield we strive to challenge thinking, stimulate curiosity and to create moments where students are ‘on the edge.’

This term we have started to explore the concept of The Learning Pit as a metaphor that can be used to describe the feeling of being on the edge and then stepping out of your comfort zone and entering cognitive conflict. Being in The Pit can feel uncomfortable and will almost certainly be a struggle. The important thing is that when in The Pit the pupils show a growth mind set and resilience. They need to work collaboratively and creatively to find a solution and work their way out.

I have been so impressed with the Senior Prep pupils this half term as they have embraced being in The Pit. They have accepted challenges, demonstrated their ‘can do’ attitude and tackled cognitive conflict head on.

A particular highlight for me was facilitating a debate about whether Robin Hood was a good man. I saw the pupils think deeply, develop robust arguments and then evaluate the opinions of others to reconsider their own position. The ‘Eureka’ moment as they emerged from The Pit with their answer was a joy to watch. How very fortunate we are to be part of the learning journey of the pupils at Sherfield.

As we start the half term break I hope that the pupils and their families have a chance to rest, a chance to enjoy some family time and a chance to read and visit exciting places.

Most of all I hope that you have the chance to remember the advice of the late Professor Stephen Hawkins, ‘look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist – be curious’.

Have a wonderful half term and be curious!

Mrs West
Head of Senior Prep

News Senior Leadership Team Blog Senior Prep

News, Senior Leadership Team Blog , Senior Prep

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