New Year’s Resolutions for the Classroom

Like most of us, today I have turned my attention to the dreaded new year’s resolution. This evening the wife and I have been flicking through the Clean and Lean Cookbook trying to agree on nutritious and healthy meals that we can both enjoy over the coming months whilst trying to subdue our cravings for bread and pasta. Let’s see how long that lasts!New-Years-Resolution

I’ve spotted a few tweets from teachers about new year’s resolutions too. This blog post from @LearningSpy has a number of thought-provoking suggestions of new years’s resolutions for teachers and school leaders. This got me thinking about my own classroom and how I can start the year by encouraging my students to take more responsibility and become better learners.

In my book I have written about a tool I started to use last year to encourage independent learning. The Conditions for Learning Model encourages students to think about what it takes to be an effective learner and can be downloaded here. It is also explained in more detail in the first chapter of the book. Example below:

Fig 2.7 The Conditions for Learning

As teachers we talk about a language for learning. An agreed set of principles, skills or values that we promote in our classrooms and across the school. Many schools have their own set of values, characteristics or skills they champion and promote through their curriculum that are desirable human traits and necessary  for life-long learning. Here is an idea that you can use to agree, share and promote a set of skills and dispositions for effective learning. The Conditions for Effective Learning allows teachers and students to build a model of desirable skills that can be used to reinforce attitudes and behaviours in every lesson. The model is built around three components.

Dispositions – the habits and characteristics shown by successful people

Skills – the skills we need to become effective learners

Barriers – the internal and external factors that get in the way of learning

The purpose of this activity is to build and agree a model with your students that everyone can use to gain their learning. Whether you come up with your own list or, even better, develop it as an exercise with students it’s a useful prompt and reminder for teachers and students alike.

i’ve been thinking how I might revisit this with my students in the new year to come up with three resolutions for the classroom:

1. A disposition to promote

2. A skill to develop

3. A barrier to manage/avoid

We’ll see if they can stick to them!