As GCSE courses are moving to being linear with just exams at the end, it is more important than ever that students know how to work effectively by themselves; knowing how to learn and revise successfully and use a range of tools to help them.

Therefore, to help students learn these skills, Years 8 and 9 recently took part in an Independent Learning day, where they practised the skills of independent learning and learned about some of the barriers to independent learning that they need to overcome.

They were given a task in groups; to solve a murder! They had to work together to solve puzzles, work out clues and piece all of the information together in order to solve the crime. But which suspect was it: Liam Listless, Sharon Shambles, Ruby Reliant or Matthew Methodical?

Alongside the benefits of learning through working together, each of the suspects represented a barrier to learning; laziness, disorganisation, reliance on others and spending too much time planning and not enough time actually ‘doing’.

Students completed an evaluation which allowed them to think about their own learning and how they could become a more effective independent learner. Students really enjoyed themselves and learned a lot too, with one Year 9 student saying, “It was a challenging but fun task, using exciting ways to learn; I am definitely a better independent learner following the day”.

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Lead teacher in English, Mel Barnard, who organised the event said, “The students were excellent and really tackled the challenge with enthusiasm and determination. They worked superbly in their groups and were a credit to the school. I am looking forward to seeing them develop into more independent learners in the future.”

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