Making thinking visible


Making thinking visible

26 Jun ’18 Teaching 0

Leading the professional learning of your colleagues is tricky, trickier when they are in the business of education.

On Monday our staff met to co-construct our teaching and learning focus for 2018-19, within a our organisation’s global vision for learning.

A global education ecosystem that develops life-ready students who learn how to learn.

Where established school Values underpin school culture, and where “Educator Excellence” and “Self Directed Students” (SDL) are two, of three, strategic pillars. Our teachers professional learning and development remains one of our school priorities and it essential to our progression and adoption of SDL as a school.


The INSET programme was shared on the Thursday, together with a pre-INSET task.

What on Earth is an SDL Learner?

To explore what it means to be an effective self-directed learner by:

  • Identifying the key attributes and learning behaviours needed for self-direction;
  • Comparing whether these attributes and behaviours change according to age and stage;
  • Creating a set of learner attributes and behaviours to develop during the 2018_19 academic year.

Pre-INSET task

All staff we are to bring with them three items that represented their understanding of Self Directed Learning (SDL) at Hindhead Campus.

Making thinking visible

Making the abstract, physical, was a brilliantly simple and effective strategy. Not only did it get me to think, hard, about my own thinking on the subject, then thinking and find what item I wanted to represent that thinking and how I was going to explain/share that with my colleagues. I then got to hear from my colleagues and their reflections and thoughts. I found this particular useful as our groups, whilst self-organised, included colleagues from across all teaching areas, Primary, Secondary, Leadership and Support. As often is the case, I learnt a lot from listening to my colleagues.

This simple, three item pre-task, made our staff’s thinking on SDL visible and thereafter audible, as we used these items to identify (and articulate) the key attributes and learning behaviours needed for self-direction.

From these humble, reflective beginnings, we defined the “attributes and learning behaviours needed for self-direction.” 

These summaries were shared and dotocracy or dot-voting help turn our group summaries into a “set of learner attributes and behaviours to develop during the 2018_19 academic year.” A thoroughly worthwhile, insightful and collegiate INSET session.


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