Dean of Learning

Learning how to learn

Teaching students how to learn is as important as teaching them content, because acquiring both the right learning strategies and background knowledge is important – if not essential- for promoting lifelong learning.

Dunlosky 2013

We all know that one of the main reasons students attend school is to learn and grow. It is hoped that this learning and growth occurs in a number of different facets of their school life, not just academically. It is important that students today are developing skills such as adaptability, resilience, critical thinking and perseverance that will allow them to be better prepared for the ever changing world of work that they will be entering when they finish their school life. In order for this to occur, it is the responsibility of schools and parents to teach and foster the development of a growth mindset within our young people.

The past two decades have seen huge advances in brain science. Remarkable research has overturned the picture of the brain as being hardwired at birth and shown that it is remarkably plastic, capable of change and growth throughout our lifetime. We now know that the brain has an amazing ability to create new connections and make these connections stronger over time. This occurs when we learn something new or when we go over something we have previously learned. Understanding that the capacity of our brain is not ‘fixed’ is the underpinning of a growth mindset. It is important that students are explicitly taught about the ability of the brain to change so they can better understand how exactly we are able to continue to learn new things.

However, teaching students about the brain in terms of a growth mindset is not enough, they must also be taught how to learn most effectively. While exposing students to new content is important, students must also be taught how their memory works and the best strategies to use to move information from short term to working and then finally to long term memory.

With this in mind, Year 8 students have been participating in a ‘Learning to Learn’ program over the past eight weeks which has focused on understanding your brain, how your memory works and the most effective strategies to move information into long term memory and then retrieving it at a later date. The philosophy of this program is to allow students to connect central ideas related to growth mindset and the importance of learning strategies to assist their learning.

Please see below an outline of the key ideas and content covered by the program.

Key ideas

Content

Brain learning and structures

Brain dissection

Neuroplasticity

Information processing model

Short term and long-term memory

Stages of Learning

Encoding

Retrieval

Consolidation

Practices to encode information

Rote

Chunking

Mnemonics

Practices to consolidate information

 Spaced practice

Growth Mindset

The importance of sleep

Consolidation

Retrieval practice

Flash cards

Interleaving

Self-testing

Linking to Healthy Minds

Procrastination

Practice makes permanent

Stress

Managing stress

Stress reducing activities

 

Please have a conversation with your daughter about the program at home and I encourage you to help reinforce these learning strategies with your daughter, making them a foundation of her study program.

 

Ms Michelle Albert

Dean of Learning