Thursday, 19 April 2012

Split Screen Teaching

As a Learning to Learn teacher, I am always looking for methods to help make the embedding process as effective as possible.  In our discrete Year 9 lessons and Year 7 unit, it is always very obvious that we are delivering L2L and we can easily reward or give process/effort feedback to reinforce good Growth learner habits.  But what about in subjects other than ours?  How can you ensure learners are aware that they are developing their L2L attributes/strategies in Science or Maths or PE or History?  And I'm not just talking about chucking in some 'Mindmapping' tasks and simply referring to them as an L2L skill.  What I'm talking about is how can we get learners to realise that they are developing an attribute or strategy, understand how can they be a more effective student by learning this way, why this is beneficial, where else could they use it and how will it make them a more effective learner.  How can we make this exposure to L2L part of the learning process and not just an add on or activity? (And definitely not just a tick box exercise!)  How can we make sure we teach the students the process of learning?

Now I am a massive L2L believer.  I am an even bigger C. Dweck Growth Mindset fan.  I honestly believe that helping the way individuals learn as well as what they learn is of massive importance.  Really focusing on developing learner attributes and processes has to be part and parcel of our job role.  Who is going to show them if we don't?  I have therefore been looking at ways we can embed L2L in our Yr 7 curriculum next year and have been trialling the use of 'Split Screen Teaching' in some of our lessons over the past few months.

Split Screen Teaching - Involving learners in the process of learning

I first came across this term when I undertook a lot of research and came across Guy Claxton.  He was the first main educationalist who helped me understand the structure of delivering L2L.  I took a few good lessons from his work and one of these was split screen learning objectives.  In a very brief summary, split screen teaching involves you creating learning objectives for your lesson that include both content and L2L components.  You still cover the content as usual and would have specific learning objectives to measure progress.  In addition to this, you would also have a L2L objective which helps individuals develop good learner habits.  This means that at various stages in the lesson, not only are you able to reflect and share on how well the content is being learnt, but also how well they are learning.  A very poor example of this is below:

Two content and one L2L objective

By presenting this at the start of a lesson, not only are you informing students of the learning that will take place, but you are also informing them that they will be involved in that learning and develop good learner habits (in this case, how to research more effectively).

So what can these L2L objectives refer to?  Well, after many years of trial and error, my personal piece of advice is link them to a bigger L2L framework.  You need a goal or aim.  The one we are embedding next year links everything back to C. Dweck's Growth Mindset theory and an adapted version of the 5R's.  From this structure, we can pick out areas relevant to our subject areas and embed them into lessons.  Whether it be something that promotes an attribute like responsibility or resilience, or a part of a Growth Learner such as how to tackle challenges and learn from mistakes (through self/peer assessment).  Either way, all of our split screen objectives next year will have a purpose and a goal to help benefit the good learner habits of our students.

So now you have an idea of split screen teaching, how do you use it.  To help our own staff next year, our L2L team came up with the following pieces of advice:
  1. Compare your subject or upcoming topic to the framework you have chosen (in our case, Growth Mindset and adapted 5R's).
  2. Would that topic or your subject benefit from your learners developing their learner habits? (e.g. if you had a big enquiry unit coming up, would learners becoming more resourceful benefit it?  If so, show them how to be resourceful by teaching them how to use sources effectively or research properly)
  3. Pick what learner habits you want to reinforce.
  4. Select when to build them into your sequence of lessons.
  5. Create split screen learning objectives and clearly link the L2L one to your chosen learner habit.
  6. Introduce your split screen objectives as you start your lesson.
  7. Create a success criteria for the L2L objective as you are about to use it.
  8. Refer to the L2L objective and your success criteria continuously.
  9. Highlight any good learning experiences when students use the L2L process (either through what you see or get some Learning Detectives)
  10. Reflect on it.
  11. Give process or effort feedback.
  12. Reinforce it (Using our Learner Attribute Reward Cards).
  13. Inform how they can keep using it.
We created the following guide as a result which we will give staff ready for next year:

Feel free to save a copy

These are simply designed to give some guidance and are by no means the only way to implement split screen teaching (see Alistair Smith for his version called Three Dimensional Learning Objectives).

I am a very reflective practitioner and if it doesn't work I don't use it.  This really works though.  Plan to use it right, adapt it to your own lessons and ensure you try to reinforce it.  I really think it is so important we build the process of learning in our lessons and actually reinforce good learner habits with our youngsters.  For another example, see the Maths presentation at the bottom of a previous post here from a colleague.  Her objectives are also using split screen as she embeds responsibility and teamwork.

No comments:

Post a Comment