Money, money, money! Sadly there is not enough to go around and education has been one of the areas that has suffered in recent years, even before the pandemic. The Chancellor’s job is a challenge, prioritising spending and ensuring that the effects are long-term. There have been many programmes devised by the Department of Education to help schools and pupils overcome the gaps in learning created by months of remote learning. What is not needed is another band aid approach that only stems the tide.
“Choosing not to invest in the future of young people at this critical point will only lead to greater problems in the future.” Geoff Barton, General Secretary of ASCL
According to an article this week in The Times, education will be hardest hit in the spending review with “minimal” additional funding to help children to catch up after missing out on school during the pandemic. The government’s commitment is significantly less than the £5.8 billion extra demanded by head teachers and influential academy chains to cover the “significant long-term damage” to children’s education.
No short-term approaches
So yes, we need to teach children how to think and to learn. Approaching the problem by providing a leg-up is not sufficient to close the gap. Rather than the “give the child a fish” tutoring approach, where knowledge is soon forgotten, Meta Prep’s “teach the child to fish” employs a metacognitive approach to learning, and thereby improves the long term learning skills of pupils.
Metacognition must be explicitly taught. Teaching pupils the key thinking process and strategies involved in metacognition sets them up for a life of successful learning. Our teaching approach prepares meta-learners: those capable of understanding themselves, being able to reflect on their learning, who know how to make progress, whatever challenge they are set.
Become an expert learner
Where it all comes together is the concept of becoming an expert learner: a child that is committed to lifelong learning and takes ownership and responsibility. They understand their abilities and motivations, have the ability to analyse and evaluate information, and create new ideas and solutions. To sum it up, an expert learner is self-reflective and self-evaluative.
This doesn’t happen overnight and sometimes requires rewiring of previous behaviours. A child needs to have an excellent understanding of metacognition, the workings of their brain and how to use deliberate practice. Marrying this with the foundation stones of Maths, English and Reasoning, particularly when preparing for the 11+ exams, will develop their inner confidence and passion for learning.
Why is it important?
Being an expert learner allows anyone, whether studying for the 11+ exams, finding a job or planning a holiday, to be confident and excited. They are flexible and are happy to make mistakes because it is a chance to learn. Making a plan of attack (think of that big goal) is key to becoming an expert learner. Equipped with the right tools and a growth mindset, they are comfortable embarking on the unknown. An expert learner is set for life.