Session title: Independent learning

Learning Independence – techniques for improving lesson observation outcomes overnight

Typical inspection issues

  • Teachers do not have high enough expectations of students on study programmes to develop the study, personal, social and employability skills that they will need for their future careers.
  • Students are not ready to learn, and so disrupt activities and slow the pace of learning of their peers.


Learning Independence is a half-day session.

Information for event organisers

Lesson observation profiles are often used by organisations to determine the effectiveness of provision and the impact of their development work. However, too often, the process is flawed as it focuses on what teachers and their learners do, rather than the difference the chosen teaching strategies make to learning. And in too many cases, teachers focus almost exclusively on coverage of the vocational syllabus at the expense of creating expert learners who can do much of this for themselves.

Many teachers also misunderstand the term ‘independent learning’ and fail to see how their strategies need to evolve to allow these sustainable skills to develop in their learners. Focusing on the completion of activities rather than making a difference to learning can also lead to poor differentiation and the typical inspection issues listed above; a recipe for ‘requires improvement’ or worse.

This session challenges teachers’ custom and practice and helps them understand how some commonplace teaching strategies build dependence on, rather than independence of, the teacher. Delegates explore expert learner skills, the teaching strategies needed to develop them, and the resource implications for their organisation.

Publicity information for potential delegates

One of the most common reasons we have found for the awarding of a grade of ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ is the poor approach to the development of learners’ independence of the teacher. But what is ‘independent learning’ and do your teaching strategies enable or stifle this expert learner skill? In this session, we will look at commonplace teaching strategies and see how damaging they can be to the overall mission of creating learning independence. We will also look at the changes that can be made immediately and those which may take more focused investment by your curriculum team and organisation.

This short session alone could increase your observation judgement by at least one grade.

This session will enable delegates to:

  • evaluate the negative impact on independent learning of commonplace teaching strategies
  • identify teaching issues that can be resolved instantly
  • explore the groundwork needed to resolve more difficult issues and set out any implications for their teaching
  • consider the fertile infrastructure needed to enable independent learning to flourish and set out any implications for their teaching.

What the delegates say

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Half-day session. This session would combine well with the following courses in a staff development day:


To discuss your requirements in detail, please phone or drop us a line.

ArtsWork – a 60-minute documentary on outstanding teaching. Includes three outstanding lessons as extras on the DVD.