Choosing a school – Who is the learner?

BCW teamUnderstanding Learners

Choosing a school - Who is the learner?

Choosing a school – Who is the learner?

I was recently asked to suggest a school for two students I had taught for several years. The families were moving to another country and they were also considering international schools as a possibility. After some consideration I thought it might be useful if I shared some ideas I held about choosing a school and possible questions worth considering when choosing a school.

One of the first things for you as parents to reflect on is who is/are your children as individual learners?

Some of the things teachers think about when getting to know students and catering for student needs include:

  • Is this a quiet person who prefers solo tasks to groups work?
  • Is this a person whose working habits change depending on the confidence and competence with a topic or task?
  • Is he/she an extraverted person, who does better in group situations than working alone?
  • Is she/he a person who benefits from being able to talk through ideas before putting them on paper?
  • Is this a person who benefits from using hands-on materials and experience?
  • Is this a person who needs time alone to think and develop ideas before engaging with a topic or task?
  • What skills does he/she best use to record and share ideas? (Oral, writing, digital, performing, etc.)
  • How does this person view mistake-making and risk taking? Is it a safe process for them or do they need some scaffolded support to use these events as launch-pads for new learning?
  • What helps this person develop relationships with other people in the learning community (both peer and adult)?
  • What can I do as the teacher, to help model and make visible that I trust in this learner’s approaches as well as helping this learner develop a trust relationship with me?
  • What process time or spaces does this person need? (i.e. Does she/he need time to review instructions one on one after they are given, does she/he process instructions and ideas developed in group situations? Do visual/auditory/ physical cues best support this learner?

This post, “Choosing a school – Who is the learner?” is the first in a four part series including

  • Choosing a school – What type of school? (Part 2)
  • Choosing a school – The long term view (Part 3)
  • Choosing a school – The power of gender politics (Part 4)