In our Lower Secondary classes we also help our students develop as independent learners, with the resilience and perseverance they need to study effectively and be self-reliant.

To do this we provide students with opportunities to self-monitor their learning by working with them to establish their learning goals, coaching them in using feedback from others and teaching them how to reflect on their learning. We lay a lot of emphasis on students being reflective in these grade levels. Our teachers also use questioning as scaffolding to promote independent learning, which we use as a step-by-step transfer of responsibility from the teacher to the student. For this, our teachers ask higher order, open-ended questions to promote thinking, problem-solving and engender a deeper understanding of their studies.

In these grade levels, we take time to talk to students about learning as this builds students’ awareness of how efficient and effective they are being in their studies. Also, the feedback given to students on their work is comprehensive and instructive, as this guides their independent working.

Students are given regular opportunities to complete quality, small group tasks as part of their learning and teachers work closely with students to encourage them to learn from each other. We feel it is important for our students in Lower Secondary to develop their own ideas and ask their own questions, rather than relying on questions and answers from others. Within such a framework, we encourage students to set their own goals for achievement through recognised ‘assessment for learning’ approaches, so that they take more ownership of their learning.