Learning About Learning

Reflections about an Article titled Do Students Know Enough Smart Learning Strategies? Posted March 22, 2012 | 11:16 AM | By Annie Murphy Paul

Accessed from http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/03/do-students-know-enough-smart-learning-strategies/ on Sunday April 8, 2012.

This article confirms the need for schools to explore ways, and make time, to assist students REFLECT on their learning. Annie Paul reminds us “anytime a student learns, he or she has to bring in two kinds of prior knowledge: knowledge about the subject and knowledge about how learning works.” Teachers are very good at providing knowledge about the subject. Structurally, this is reflected by the way secondary schools ‘package’ education in ‘Key Learning Areas’.

On the second point, about “how learning works”, Annie Paul points out, “the guidance we offer on the act of learning itself—the “metacognitive” aspects of learning—is more hit-or-miss, and it shows.” An Australian Study involving 1388 Australian high school students found that their ability to engage with knowledge about learning was “less than optimal.” Annie Paul quotes Helen Askell-Williams of Flinders University in Adelaide, who states, “Teaching students good learning strategies would ensure that they know how to acquire new knowledge, which leads to improved learning outcomes.”

The article concludes positively by offering questions for parents and educators “to make sure that children know not just what is to be learned, but how.” These questions are:

·     What is the topic for today’s lesson?

·     What will be important ideas in today’s lesson?

·     What do you already know about this topic?

·     What can you relate this to?

·     What will you do to remember the key ideas?

·     Is there anything about this topic you don’t understand, or are not clear about?

In summary, each learning experience offers students the opportunity to reflect on their learning. By doing so they are enhancing their ability to learn about learning.


Greg Miller


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