Visible Learning in Foundation
Graeme Naftel, Head of Junior School
The children in Foundation began the year thinking that mistakes were not allowed. It has taken a great amount of effort and learning for the children to understand that mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn. A big part of this is making sure the children know what it is they are learning and the steps they need to follow to get there. In every lesson, the children have a WALT (We are Learning To) and a WILF (What I’m Looking For). Term 2 has seen a shift from them just asking what the WALT is, to having them check their own work against the WILF. In doing this they are taking responsibility for their own academic success as well as starting to explore what it is they could improve upon next time.
A wonderful example of this is when we are focusing on writing. They know they need finger spaces, capital letters and full stops. They check their work against the WILF and make improvements of their own accord.
This also occurs in Maths. Recently, the children were asked to create a dinosaur out of a particular set of 2D shapes. When they finished they had to check that they had used all the 2D shapes that were needed. It was wonderful to hear things such as:
- Oh, I have too many triangles. I need to get rid of those two.
- Mine doesn’t really look like a dinosaur, can I have another go?
- I missed out a rectangle. I will put one more in.
It is important that the Foundation learners see that this is important across all areas of study. They also have a WALT and WILF for every Art lesson. Before they begin exploring new techniques, the children use different thinking routines to explore the focus artist’s work. Sometimes they create stories from an image or simply list what they see and talk about what the artwork makes them think and wonder. This thought process then lends itself to creating their own artwork. They see that they too need to critically look at their art pieces to see if they have everything required.
These opportunities to develop a deep understanding of what they are learning, helps to develop critical, creative and resilient learners.