Friday, July 20, 2007

Developing persistent learners

I received an email from Karen Boyes a few weeks ago that fitted perfectly with developing the Key Competencies. The Key Competencies have become a major focus of the Discovery Time programme so I thought you might be interested in some of the things she has to say.

"Persistence is the ability to stick to a task especially when the going gets tough. it is being able to hang in there and keep going when a task becomes challenging, never giving up and keeping going."

"Give your students a repertoire of problem solving strategies. Invite students to make a plan before solving a problem and if plan A does not work use plan B, C, D or E."

"As a teacher you may hear yourself saying, "who has another way to solve this?" or "What's another way?" Develop a bank of different strategies and ways to approach a task."

"A great activity to introduce persistence is to teach yor students to juggle."
(see blog entry 29.05.07)

Art Costa says "teaching persistence is a matter of teaching strategy. persistence does not just mean working to get it right. Persistence means knowing that getting stuck is a cue to 'try something else.'"

Persistence is one aspect of the 'managing self' key competency, but also overlaps with 'thinking' when students are encouraged to problem solve a difficulty and try another strategy.

Talk about persistence at the start of a Discovery Time session and then having students reflect on how they persisted with a task, at the end of the session. This works brilliantly.