1 Mar

This week I have come across some great pieces of research that is worth sharing. The first is Competent Learners @ 20.

The Competent Children Competent Learners study has tracked around 500 children in the Wellington region from just before they started school, to age 20. It has looked at the impact of early childhood education and then later educational experiences and time use out of school on children’s development. It has monitored the development of skills such as reading and writing, and also attitudes such as perseverance and curiosity. When they returned to the participants at age 20, the researchers looked at how the young people had got on with NCEA. They looked at the impact of earlier school performance, engagement in school and their experiences of learning.

Some key findings included:

  • More than half those with low performance at age 8 went on to gain NCEA Level 2 or Level 3. That means that children’s support from teachers and parents, the learning opportunities they had in and out of school and their interactions with teachers, parents and peers, enabled them to make real progress.
  • Those who gained NCEA Level 2 did not necessarily have higher levels of mathematics, reading, writing or logical problem solving at age 14 than those whose highest qualification was NCEA Level 1, or who did not gain any qualification. But they did have higher levels of perseverance, communication, social skills, curiosity and self-management.
  • The period from age 10 to age 14 appears to be a time when it is particularly important for teachers and parents to watch for signs that children are turning away from school and learning. This applies as much to high performers at school as low performers. It was clear how deeply memories of school at this time can colour later attitudes to learning.

Another area I have been reading about this week is Thinking Strategies and the following article Provide Models, Examples and Non-examples.

It suggests similar to expert craftsmen teaching their trades to apprentices, teachers can model thinking and problem-solving skills to their students.

Modeling can take several forms in your classroom:

  • Thinking aloud regarding your cognitive processing of text (e.g., sharing with students how you make connections between what you know and something that you’ve read in the text or how you figured out what the author was inferring)
  • Demonstrating or showing your students explicitly how you would complete an assignment (e.g., writing a summary of an article, taking notes, constructing a graphic organizer, or giving a speech)
  • Showing first-rate complete examples of a work product (e.g., a summary paragraph or graphic organizer) as well as substandard non examples that help students differentiate between a good one and an unacceptable one
  • Acting out, role-playing or developing simulations.
  • Explaining, telling, and giving directions are essential teaching moves, but unless they are accompanied by various types of modelling, the likelihood of struggling readers achieving success is small. Never assume that because students have spent year in school, they have been explicitly taught or have somehow figured out on their own how to do what you want them to do.

These ideas and further concepts can be sourced from

As teachers we always want to continue to sharpen the saw. Make ourselves more competent. A good teacher has to be open to learning. The following are some general strategies.

Teach like a Champion Technique Eight: Post It – Be sure your students know your objective for the day by posting it on the board

What Does a Great Lesson Look Like on the Outside? – Here’s What Your Students and Evaluators Should See in Your Classroom.

And finally a blog that really inspired me this week:


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