Teaching our 'Learning-to-Learn' Skills: The Research
Teachers can accelerate their students' learning by explicitly teaching them learning-to-learn skills, said Bob Darnell, director of staff support services for District 214 in Arlington Heights, Ill. "We typically call these study skills," he said, "but actually they're learning skills." According to Darnell, research and experience have shown that high-performing students tend to establish goals.
- Determine essential information.
- Find patterns and "chunk" information.
- Plan and manage time (prioritize).
- Seek help when necessary.
High-performing students also use efficient memory strategies, Darnell said, such as "distributed practice." For example, when memorizing words for a spelling test, a good student won't attempt to learn all 20 words in one night. Instead, he/she will memorize six words the first night, another six words the next night, another six words the following night, and then memorize the last two words (and review the most difficult ones) the night before the test.
When teachers teach all students to use these kinds of strategies, Darnell said, they see improvement in student performance within just a week or two. These strategies can be taught as early as Year 2, he added.
Darnell emphasized that learning-to-learn skills should be taught concurrently with content, not as an add-on. "Research shows that people don't pick up on these skills unless they're taught in the context of content," he said. For example, teachers can teach the skill of comparing as students learn about photosynthesis, he suggested, or they can help students master note taking as they learn about transition statements.
So, where do we start?
•Inspire using stories in assemblies
•Displays around school that promote a growth mindset
•Engaging parents with growth mindset
•Promoting our Learning to Learn skills (L2L) by teaching strategies and developing language that regularly promotes a growth mindset:
- FAIL – First Attempt In Learning
- Mental contrasting
- Marvellous mistakes
- Trial and improvement
- Pay attention to working memory
- Modelling, Prompting and Clueing
- Editing and more editing
Which step have you reached today?
We are developing a growth mindset culture in school and encourage all stakeholders to move away from having a fixed mindset.
Take a look at the presentation attached: