Today I had a year 10 & year 11 lesson that both started in exactly the same way…
Students came into the class. We exchanged pleasantries. Without being asked they got their folders from the shelf. Some got others’ folders out for them. They sat down. I gave them a piece of paper with keywords on and I said ‘now quiet, start your keywords’. They sat in silence and recalled the definitions. Once I saw everyone was complete I said ‘swapsies’. They all picked up a red pen and marked each other’s work using the mark scheme they have in their heads. They gave a mark and handed it back. They told me their mark and filed it in their folders under ‘keywords’.
I barely did anything in the whole of this process. They knew what they needed to do and how to do it.
This got me thinking about habits for learning. For me, routines like this make my life easier and I think they help students in their learning. They know what I expect from this part of the lesson and they all get on with it, mostly independently. The knowledge is needed for their exam and the skills in the routine keeps them organised. Little time is wasted with me explaining what they need to do. They already know and get on with it.
So, how else could habits for learning be developed to support learning, whilst making life easier for them and for me?
I think the next habit I need to work on with key stage 3 is proof reading before handing work in. It would only take a couple of lessons to embed and I could get them doing the same at the end of every lesson as my year 10/11 do at the start of their keyword lessons; an independent, yet highly structured process. It could save me hours of marking silly things they could proof read and address before they hand it in.
What other habits for learning could we develop that ensure high quality work is produced by students and little time is wasted in class?