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Independent Learners Workshop

Parent workshops are a great opportunity to encourage a strong home/school partnership where parents are actively informed in recent research about child development and supporting learning at home. In the Independent Learners Workshop, participants explored what ‘learning’ means and how learning is changing to prepare students for future success. Although academic knowledge and skills remain important to the curriculum, these are now being developed and enhanced by characteristics of effective learning which support independent thinking and learning. They explored how something as routine as putting shoes on can provide a wealth of learning opportunities for children including fine motor development, perseverance, critical thinking and motivation to meet a goal. All of which are preparing young learners for success now and in the future. A future where most careers these children will have simply have not been invented yet!

The workshop explored the difference between adult-led, instructional learning and open-ended learning. Half of the parents followed a set of instructions to make identical boats whilst the other half were given the freedom to explore a range of different materials to make whatever vehicle they wanted. We then rated our levels of engagement, motivation and thinking from one to ten. This demonstrated that even adults are far more engaged when given autonomy and independence when it comes to learning. The parents rated motivation much higher in the open-ended task and thinking was rated ‘eleven out of ten’ in the open-ended challenge compared with much lower scores from the group with instructions.

The key message was to allow children time to think, struggle, persevere and eventually achieve what they set out to do. From chopping fruit, climbing trees, dressing themselves, using junk to build and make…the home environment offers an infinite amount of opportunities for growth. Parents were encouraged to praise effort, bouncing back from difficulties, determination, risk-taking. “I’m so proud of how you kept on trying even though you found it difficult!”

A huge thank you to all parents who attended and contributed.

Independent Learners Workshop


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