In addition to all of the above, we place high value on teaching our children to be metacognitive in their learning journey with us. We teach explicit sessions where the children learn a new skill alongside their peers and teachers, training in what it means to be reflective and understand how they best learn. We see excellent gains in independence skills and on the strategies children use when they get ‘stuck’ with their learning.
We also place value on using retrieval practice as a powerful means of helping children to remember key content and knowledge across the curriculum. We know that when children learn more, they remember more and thus, can do more - retrieval practice helps children make more schematic connections, strengthens their retention and increases their confidence.
The cornerstone of any excellent teaching and learning model, feedback and assessment are absolutely imperative to help children understand where they are in their learning journey and also inform teaching staff on how to ensure each child is getting the best learning offer. We’ve worked hard over the years to sharpen our ability to give feedback at the point of learning and in making certain we are as succinct and clear as possible.
We try to involve others as much as possible in the feedback process, strengthening their ability to be analytical and a ‘critical friend’. We take full advantage of the efficiencies using technology for feedback and assessment offers; children can get instantaneous data on their performance and as practitioners, we can share this information quickly across classes, the school and at Trust level. This is very powerful when looking at comparisons and monitoring progress.
At NOPA, we spend a lot of time and resources on making our learning environments as powerful as possible, immersing the children in their topics and subject content. Classrooms are rich in interactive material, knowledge and vocabulary. It isn’t just about the physical spaces in school though, we also immerse children in subject richness by exposing them regularly to (sur)real experiences, particular through the use of technology like virtual reality but also through external subject experts.