A key feature of education in the 14-19 age range is the development of responsibility for student’s own learning and the corresponding need for thinking skills. This section therefore provides frameworks and contexts with links, deriving from the Stern Review, which offer opportunities to develop and extend both responsibility for learning (including determining the direction and depth of study) and to apply a range of thinking skills, from the acquisition of knowledge and comprehension through to analysis and evaluation. As a part of this, language in the site and in many of the links has not been specifically tailored for student consumption, but is “real world”.
In an effort to support student’s own learning, this section therefore includes details about both teaching and learning without discriminating between them since for the 14-19 student, both are relevant and no harm would come to a student who followed the references in the National Strategy “Pedagogy Pack” for example, finding out about the theoretical principles of guided learning or about questioning, though they should appreciate that the pack was written for a teacher audience.
Each page within the first five sections of the site gives a glimpse of the areas which might reasonably merit exploration, and which for some will relate to a subject of study for examination e.g. geography or economics. They cannot be definitive or exhaustive but equally they should not be limiting. The successful student will find out how topics relate, explore the links provided and those from their own research, make choices and be able to rationalise and justify particular paths; there are no right or wrong routes through the resource.
Given the technology available and the general activities of contemporary students, podcasts, blogs, wikis and other web 2.0 approaches are seen as appropriate and attractive for study and for developing thinking; supporting debate, interaction and publication. Nevertheless, fluency with using a web browser for example does not guarantee discerning use, and details of how to look beyond “apparent” content are included within the Using the Web sub section, to inform better research.
The Stern Review points to some very “live” topics with debate and controversy, assertion and refutation being natural components. For this reason there is also a focus on critical thinking and reasoned argument.
Minds: Responsibility, Authority, Power, and Learning (quotes link below)
A Fresh Look at Independent Learning
Guidelines on Learning that inform Teaching (PDF)