December 13 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 25, 2013
A former high school which recently became an academy has introduced a new “four-phase learning” model to help guide how its students are taught in the classroom.
Downham Market Academy, which has been sponsored by the College of West Anglia (CWA) since September, has moved to the system conceived by the educational expert Mike Hughes to help give staff a set of “golden rules” when teaching children.
Principal Jon Ford explained: “For a number of years, our staff and students here have been investigating what makes effective learning.
“We have looked at everything from preferred learning styles to how to memorise and make learning an active, even enjoyable experience.
“We felt that we needed a key set of principles that everyone in the academy could utilise, no matter what or when they were learning. This we’ve encapsulated into our golden rules of learning based on the four phases.”
Under the model, teachers are asked to guide students through a series of stages in their learning.
In the first phase, teachers are asked to set the scene and get their students interested in the topic of the lesson.
“We expect our students to approach all learning with an open mind and we will endeavour to ‘hook’ them in and make it relevant to their lives,” said Mr Ford.
In the second phase, students are given new information – but Mr Ford said this must be kept short, as students will spend most of their time making sense of the information in phase three, where they get to apply what they have been taught to a particular activity.
In the final phase students are expected to review what they have learned, assessing what they might have done wrong and how to correct it.
However, Mr Ford said: “Often you don’t wait to the end of the lesson to do this –it often punctuates phase three.”
Mr Hughes has described the model as “not dramatically different from what most teachers do already – it simply formalises that practice”. He also said it was designed to be a “flexible framework and not a rigid straitjacket”.