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Encouraging greater independence in class

We love this blog post from Jane Hewitt (an AST at a secondary school in Barnsley, UK). How often do we as teachers quickly answer every question that is asked of us? Jane explains a quick and easy method to prevent this and encourage more independence in class.

Get in touch with her via Twitter and view here blogs here and here.

‘Ask 3 before me’.

How do we get pupils to be more INDEPENDENT ? Last year my year 7 class were asked to design a website using ‘front page’ this is software I have never used. However, pupils wanted me to have all of the answers to their problems and it struck me how quickly I just give pupils the answer because I’m ‘helping’ them. We introduced the system put forward in books such as The Lazy Teacher’s Handbook (Jim Smith) of ask 3 before me. I made a huge badge with 3 penguins (don’t know why penguins!!) that said 3b4me and explained they were to see if others could help first.
I now have a new year 7 class and yesterday Elliott walked across the classroom to me to ask for the web address of ‘that man reading the book’…actually on the chair next to him, Jack was on the site he wanted. Nathan wanted to know where the headphones were…George is wearing headphones go and ask him?
The class are getting used to the idea of supporting on another but it did worry me that one wrote on an analysis of some work ‘we now know not to bug Mrs Hewitt with mindless questions!!’
I spent some time with Hywel Roberts this morning & he introduced me to the idea of ‘SNOT’ – Self, Neighbour, Other, Teacher (makes a great poster) I have seen it as Brain, Buddy, Book, Boss.

Whichever way you look at it, it’s good that the teacher is not the fount of all knowledge.

Have a look at the superb Storybird that Jane created on ‘independence’ below.

Independent Thinking by janeh271 on Storybird


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