Learning to Learn – “interdependence”


As many of you will know, I am really interested in how children of all ages develop as they grow up and the complexity of all the interactions between their physical, nutritional intellectual and social natures. As an experienced teacher and as a Mother, I have learnt that children grow as individuals but also need to grow with others to extend their social skills and characteristics which are essential to their balanced development and growth.  No two children are ever quite the same but in order to share some thoughts on how we can all help our children to develop into balanced and fulfilled young people, over the next few weeks, I will be writing some short articles about how I believe to get the best out of our children in order for them to develop into and remain successful learners

Through formal lesson observations, playground observations as well as general, less formal observation over the past 18 months, we have noticed significant aspects about the types of learners we have at Foremarke. The ability to be independent and the desire to take risks is an aspect of their learning which we feel as a school, needs focusing on.

The hardest part of honing this particular learning skill is being able to switch easily between being ready, willing and able to learn alone and being ready, willing and able to work with others. We call this skill reciprocity.

Interdependence forms part of reciprocity. It enables children to decide how much interaction they need with others to assist their learning and to make their own informed choices about working on their own or with others. In addition to this, interdependence focuses on the child being able to maintain their own independent thinking whilst being able to work sensibly and productively with other children.

How do we develop this ability to switch between working on their own and working with others? In school, we look at how our teachers facilitate the learning, how they engage pupils of all ages in evaluating the effect of group or individual work on their learning experiences and outcomes. Teachers may structure different opportunities for ways of working, sometimes with unexpected partners but also will involve pupils in decisions about who they will work with and why.

So what can we do as parents?

Ask your children questions about how they learn. Instead of asking how their day was and accepting ‘good’ or ‘fine’ as their best answer, ask them more probing questions such as;

“With whom do you learn best?”

“Why do you think that is?”

“What do you enjoy about learning with other people?”

“When did you learn by yourself today?”

Over the next few months, we will work hard to ensure that all of the children at Foremarke are given the best opportunities to grow in these different dispositions by ensuring they mix with different children in their year group, switching between working on their own and working within different groups. It is all the more important this year to give our children access to wider choices within their learning.