• April 04, 2019 | Pam van Gass

‘What’s the key to effective learning?’ That question has been the focus of Professor John Hattie’s academic research for more than 20 years. His latest research supports the conclusion that “it’s not just what you know, it’s what you know about what you know - and it’s what you know about how you know” that is crucial for new leaning to occur.

Our Study Skills sessions focus on three aspects, measured by Hatti, which have the largest impact on learning:  

  • the skills which encompass prior learning and understanding
  • the will which involves the disposition of learning such as resilience and self-efficacy
  • the thrill which relates to the motivational aspects: growth mindset, the desire to achieve success and evaluation of success criteria. 

The programme starts at a Grade 5 level and is continued, in termly sessions, until Grade 7.

This week, the Grade 5 girls commenced with tasks aimed at developing intrinsic motivation and improving organisational skills.  Other topics to be covered throughout the year will include: active listening, goal setting, benefits of collaboration, time management and the importance of reflection.

Among other topics, the Grade 6 girls study: the amazing brain and neuroplasticity, managing stress, types of questions and Bloom’s Taxonomy and the St Peter’s exam experience.

Grade 7 girls are introduced to: personality styles and learning, the psychology of success, research skills, conflict resolution and ‘getting ready for high school’. 

The programme is continually updated to ensure that recent research is included and that our girls have the strategies to promote lifelong learning. Learning strategies aren’t taught as isolated skills, but in context in the classroom too.

New language at St Peter’s is heard around the ‘The Learning Pit’, which is used around the world to promote challenge, dialogue and a growth mindset. This Learning Challenge is designed to help students think and talk about their learning. In some ways, it is a child-friendly representation of Vygotsky’s ‘zone of proximal development’ in that it describes the move from actual to potential understanding. It can help develop a growth mind-set (Dweck) prompt people to explore alternatives and contradictions, and encourage pupils to willingly step outside their comfort zone.

The St Peter’s Learning Pit 

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