Developing Independent Learning and Meeting Individual Learners’ Needs

As FE practitioners, we are all in the business of helping learners grow in confidence and become independent, for learning and for life. Such assertions are etched into our identities as teachers, yet how often do we really stop and think about how we promote independent learning in FE? Are there strategies for independent learning that can help one class soar, yet tether and confuse another? Are there particular joys and challenges in our work with FE-based English learners? Can we simply ‘lift and apply’ existing research within our own settings, or do we need a more nuanced, contextualised approach? These are the questions that we explored.

Kent: Promoting independent learning, wellbeing, self-confidence and the practical application of English and maths skills through volunteer-led, extra-curricular activities such as lunch club. Our research poses a grassroots challenge to Hattie’s (1996) meta-analysis, where he argued support from non-qualified teachers had little impact upon student learning.

RBKC: Exploring the effectiveness of different active learning techniques to develop resilience, build confidence and promote independence for ESOL and pre-entry English learners.

Petroc: Exploring how VESPA strategies (Oakes and Griffin, 2012) can be embedded within English teaching and learning to promote and develop independent learning skills.

Claire Callow was the strand lead for Project 5. Read her editorial: ‘Resilient Action Researchers – some hints and tips’.

Watch the group presentations at the final dissemination event by clicking play (to the right). You can also view their slides here.