Thursday, 30 June 2011

Learning to Learn

I've just been reading about St. paul's Convent School in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. I was particularly interested in their approach to meta cognition and learning to learn and the integrated use of iPod Touches. Here's an extract from the article on the Futurelab website:

Learning to learn and the 16 habits of mind

All pupils in their first two years at the secondary school undertake a Learning to Learn course. They also are trained (by the older students in F6 - aged 16) in Professor Arthur Costa’s 16 habits of mind. Prof Costa maintains that a critical attribute of intelligence is not only having information but also knowing how to act on it . The 16 habits of mind (such as persistence, thinking flexibly, remaining open to continual learning) contribute to this intelligence. For more detail on how the school has implemented these 16 Habits of Mind across the curriculum see the video at

The 16 Habits of Mind are listed below:
1. Persisting
2. Managing impulsivity
3. Listening with understanding and empathy
4. Thinking flexibly
5. Thinking about thinking (meta-cognition)
6. Striving for accuracy
7. Questioning and posing problems
8. Applying past knowledge to new situations
9. Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision
10. Gathering data through all senses
11. Creating, imagining, innovating
12. Responding with wonderment and awe
13. Taking responsible risks
14. Finding humour
15. Thinking interdependently
16. Remaining open to continuous learning

Technology provides additional learning opportunities and enables the girls to showcase their work

The school’s learning portal enables the students to log in and access additional activities, for example additional videos and audio recordings and accompanying exercises to test their English comprehension. The students showing me round the school had made frequent use of these materials. I was shown active class discussion areas, not only featuring questions on homework logistics but also intense discussion on the role of school, the responsibilities of parents and what students need to learn to prepare them for life. Sister Margaret described how extensive use is made of ipod touches to enable students to revise topics and practice Putonghua (spoken Chinese). Technology allows the school to extend learning opportunities beyond the school day and the school term.

There is clearly lots to learn from schools in other parts of the world as well as those nearer to home. I was also struck by the headteacher's reminder of the multiple ways in which we can demonstrate and celebrate our unique talents and intelligences:

Sister Margaret points out the 100 different pursuits of the children painted on the screen to emphasise that everyone is good at something and the key is finding out what and building upon it.

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