This is a very powerful tool when trying to embed L2L into a subject. If you have introduced a new way of learning to your class, the Learning Detectives can capture as much of this as they can. At key points in the lesson, you can stop the class, get the detectives to share any learning experiences they've seen, compare this to the L2L principles and success criteria you created and create a new plan of action to move forward.
|A simple prompt sheet we used to begin with in Year 9 L2L|
So is it worthwhile doing? As you can guess, this method does have its ups and downs. Some detectives, especially in classroom lessons, feel that they aren't involved in the 'content' learning of the lesson. Although they are listening to information probably harder than before, they aren't fully immersed in the learning. There are also those individuals who use this role as a distraction and it is up to the teacher to utilise the detective as much as possible and 'big up' the role. Applying a sense of importance normally ensures the detective completes their role very effectively.
On the positive side, it gives very accurate and specific examples of good/bad learning. Because it comes from a student, the rest of the class are normally very receptive. Because you are constantly referring to an L2L skill, strategy or quality, that itself gets reinforced. It helps promote the principles of L2L you are looking at. The use of photos, video clips or direct quotes also makes the reflection process very real and helps to reinforce the good learner habits you want. It works exceptionally well for me with non-participants in PE. As long as there is a focus to identify, they can capture some learning which you naturally might miss.
Overall verdict: As a tool to help identify and reinforce good learner habits/good learning in lessons, this is an excellent tool. Make sure you create a success criteria so the detectives know what to look for and can check what they see/hear against it. Make sure you choose responsible individuals first so you can demonstrate an effective Learning Detective. Arm them with a camera or clipboard to ensure they capture as much as they can. Add importance to the role. Allow time in the lesson, both during and at the end, to reflect on what they have spotted. As with all things, use it occassionally.