Have you ever wondered how some schools create a learning environment that gets students excited about going to class every day? These dedicated teachers use a thoughtful approach that improves students’ motivation and creativity while helping them establish strong relationships with their peers. As you might expect, this proactive model fosters enthusiasm and a lifelong love of learning. At One World International School, we use several strategies to optimise learning.
1. Promoting Student Agency
Promoting agency increases students’ ability to take ownership of their learning as they set goals and discover the steps they must take to reach them. Toward that end, teachers design a variety of hands-on activities to address different learning styles and interests. Students can select the learning method they’d like to use to complete a task or project towards a learning goal. We also allow them to choose how they demonstrate their understanding of a particular concept. Giving students some control over the learning process motivates them to be active participants in it.
2. Metacognitive Strategies
We use a number of metacognitive (metacognition is to think about ‘thinking’) strategies in the classroom to help students recognise their respective learning styles. One of these is self-evaluation. Students question themselves to determine whether they’re using the learning technique that works best for them or whether there’s a better way to go about the task at hand. Another metacognitive method involves reflecting on what they learnt while completing a task and deciding whether they met the intended learning goal. We also encourage students to consider their strengths and weaknesses so that they can tailor their study strategies accordingly. Additionally, we help learners understand the connections between subjects (for instance, discussing patterns in numbers and genetic patterns or patterns in nature).
3. Timely Feedback
Our teachers provide regular feedback — both in the form of praise and constructive criticism — related to how much time and effort students put into their work. Teachers may meet one-on-one to talk to students about immediate concerns. Written feedback consists of a note or edits on a graded assignment. Students also regularly evaluate themselves and each other.
4. Making Positive Connections
A positive environment helps children feel confident and empowered to learn. At OWIS, we offer plenty of support to our students, helping them build relationships with teachers and peers. We create an atmosphere in which each child feels valued and recognised.
5. Fostering Creativity
Creative expression is a central part of our curricula. We encourage students to design their own projects or models to explain concepts. This gives them the freedom to explore — and sometimes struggle when they encounter difficulties — while teachers provide encouragement and an age-appropriate level of guidance.
6. Safe, Stress-Free Environment
Our classrooms are a safe place to take risks and embrace challenges. Teachers are well-organised and schedule enough breaks so children can process all that they are learning. Teachers clearly communicate their expectations of class conduct and emphasise respect for self and others.
7. Group Learning
Students who are social learners benefit most from collaborating with their peers. Group activities and class discussions give children opportunities to voice their concerns, question ideas they’re not comfortable with and seek more information to improve their understanding. Encouraging every child to speak out helps them feel confident expressing themselves and promotes a sense of group solidarity.
8. Motivating Students to Aim High
When students understand their learning style and the methods that work best for them while receiving helpful feedback, they’re empowered to take greater initiative in the classroom. They begin to believe in their abilities. Naturally, their cognitive functioning (remembering, paying attention, problem-solving, decision-making, thinking and learning) and self-esteem improve. A supportive, motivating environment piques students’ interest in the learning process.
At OWIS, we provide highly stimulating curricula in a multicultural, personalised learning environment. To learn more about our student-centred approach, schedule a virtual school tour today.