The links between our school values of engagement, respect, independence and active learning have become clearer this term as we have developed our curriculum to more clearly reflect the promotion of these values in school on a day to day basis. If we take our focus on independence for example we can see that the skill we are trying to develop in our children is not merely independence but independent engagement, in that we are trying to develop a mind-set that facilitates the production of high quality independent learning. Are our children prepared to do ‘just enough’ to complete a task independently, or are they prepared to challenge themselves to make excellent progress when working in this way? As you can imagine, for some children making this link between engagement and independence is a significant challenge, but it is something that we believe is vital to ensuring all children make the best possible progress and it is something we will continue to work with them on.
This approach also has clear links to our core value of respect in that we need our children to demonstrate high levels of self-respect in order for them to want to engage fully with the challenges put before them. So, respect is not just seen in our curriculum in areas such as our focus on the recent Remembrance Day Centenary, but it permeates everything that we do.
The slight redefinition of engagement in our curriculum this term has also made defining active learning easier for us and for the children. In a nutshell, active learning for us is ‘doing’ or ‘experiencing’ and usually involves the children not being at our desks, but continuing on the theme of making links, active learning is not successful unless it is combined with engagement. Whether it is in our work this term with UX2, in visits to Wells Museum or Pizza Express, or in practical class based learning, we provide the experience but without the children engaging we cannot truly say that active learning is taking place.