Our Approach to Learning
At St. Johns, we believe that the best progress for children happens when they understand the learning process and are given detailed guidance on how to succeed. We share and generate with pupils the success criteria, or steps to success for each learning objective. These can take the form of a list of ingredients for a piece of writing or a step by step procedure for a mathematical process. Often these are drawn up together with pupils by analysing excellent examples of the learning from a model piece- this is known as WAGOLL ( What A Good One Looks Like). All classrooms have visualisers which allow teachers to share excellent examples and areas to improve, with their classes. Reflecting on mistakes and improvements is encouraged as an essential part of the learning process and not a sign of failure. We believe strongly that a “growth mindset” or the resilience which comes from learning from mistakes, is a golden thread in our teaching and learning policy. Teachers encourage all pupils to take part in class discussions through the use of talk partners.
Teachers make on-going assessments of children’s learning during lesson times and when marking, and they use this information to plan lessons which best meet the needs of the pupils. Learning ladders, or the key performance standards for the year, are shared in childrens’ books. Children are made aware of how they are progressing and are involved in assessing their own depth of learning.
Feedback and Marking
Pupils are very well familiar with our marking key, and the next step symbol used by teachers to indicate areas to improve. Purple polishing pens are used to improve the work, these sessions are often known as DIRT (Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time) and are a regular feature of lessons, again sewing the golden thread of constant improvement into the curriculum.
As teachers, we know that the more immediate the feedback the better, and involve pupils fully in the learning process by enabling them to review their own and each other’s work against the success criteria (known as self and peer assessment). Working in pairs to improve one person’s work during the lesson has been an exciting new development this year, known as “Co-operative Improvement” All teachers make use of “visualiser stops” to share success and suggest improvements while the lesson is ongoing.