Relationships are the cornerstone of performance at school. They will look different in every instance, because, as we well know from daily experience, the ‘chemistry’ between individuals is always subject to many diverse factors, which can play out differently at any given moment and across time. This is as true of the student:teacher relationship as of any other.
So it is that a significant aspect of the overall programme of learning at secondary school should include students gaining confidence in managing these different relationships, some of which come more naturally than others, and developing the skills that allow for versatile and productive partnerships with a wide range of people. This, of course, is what successful adults do every day of their lives, and it’s important that students evolve this ability as they progress through school.
Approaches to Learning adopted by students at school are doubly important, then. They tend to reflect not just the orientations themselves – attitudes to challenge, openness to feedback, levels of organisation, willingness to contribute to class, and so on – but also the students’ readiness to draw on these skills and strengths when working under a range of different working conditions under the direction of various personalities.
As such, Approaches to Learning are perhaps the single most important indicator of future success in life: they speak to the day-to-day ability to direct, motivate, and energise both oneself and others. Encouraging students to reflect consciously and honestly on their current modes of performance – and the ways in which these can be strengthened or consolidated – is a vital component of our function as a school. Parents can support us in this aim by familiarising themselves with their children’s Approaches to Learning and celebrating with them evidence of growth and improving mastery.
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