Education and independent learning
During this last couple of weeks, Study Skills Zone presenters have been out on the road. We have been busy in every corner of the country, in particular running Year 12 induction events for sixth forms. As always, it’s great fun and we get to meet some really enthusiastic learners, who are full of idealism as they begin their A level or BTec courses.
A common request from heads of sixth form is for us to promote the skills of “independent learning”, linked to the twin concepts of student efficacy and learner agency. They want their students to adjust quickly to what they see as the biggest difference between GCSE studies and post 16 learning: the ability to think and learn for themselves.
Socrates and the true nature of education
And it always strikes me as a little puzzling – though this is no criticism of heads of sixth form – that, after 11 or 12 years of formal education, our students haven’t yet learned how to make best use of their “free” or – as most schools call them – non-contact periods.
Perhaps this is nobody’s fault, but rather the result of a school system too focused on syllabus content and examination results.
Whenever I remember this, I recall these famous words of Socrates, spoken over 2000 years ago, about the true nature of education.
Here’s hoping that that you will enjoy kindling lots of flames for your students this year! And that applies whether you are in primary, secondary or post 16.
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