On Tuesday, we were delighted to welcome Dr James Mannion and Kate McAllister from Rethinking Education into school to work with some Lower Sixth and Year 10 students. In the morning, James and Kate worked with the Lower Sixth A Level students on ‘Making Sense of Metacognition’, a session designed to follow on from the ideas the Lower Sixth have already discussed around learning, such as the value of desirable difficulties. A key aspect of their talk was the importance of students becoming ‘self-experimenters’, moving from a tacit understanding of their learning towards a much more strategic and reflective approach where the success (or not!) of learning strategies is considered and revised as appropriate. At the end of the session, all girls came up with a research question for a self-experiment which they will investigate over the next few weeks and I am sure will prompt some fruitful discussions with form tutors.
Later on in the day, James worked with the Year 10 Student Learning Community, a group of girls who meet regularly to discuss aspects of teaching and learning. In the session the girls explored the power of oracy with a particular focus on exploratory talk, which involves, amongst other things, active listening, constructive criticism and positive encouragement to get all participants involved. The resulting debates can be highly productive, generating outcomes that are more than the sum of the parts. The SLC trialled using some exploratory talk ‘discussion guidelines’ to structure a debate which was calm and measured, and kind but critical. The entire discussion was run by the girls and needed minimal input from the teachers in the room. The SLC went away keen to continue their discussions about the power of exploratory talk and interested to embed some of these ideas in their classes.
A big thank you to James and Kate for their work with the girls today; these are ideas we will keep returning to this year and we hope to welcome James and Kate back to Godolphin in the future.