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Developing learning behaviours

Boyle et al (2001), defined good learning behaviours as those which students display when they are using metacognitive strategies in their learning. In their study, teachers decided to observe each other’s lessons to investigate the extent to which students exhibited these behaviours in their school. To do this, they first identified the following list of potential ‘good learning behaviours’ to look out for during the observations:

  1. Tells teacher when they don’t understand
  2. Asks teacher why they went wrong
  3. Tells teacher what they don’t understand
  4. Checks work against instruction, correcting errors and omissions
  5. When stuck, refers to earlier work before asking teacher
  6. Checks personal comprehension of instruction and material. Requests further information if needed
  7. Seeks reasons for aspects of the work at hand
  8. Anticipates and predicts possible outcomes
  9. Plans a general strategy before starting
  10. Explains purposes and results
  11. Checks teacher’s work for errors; offers corrections
  12. Seeks links between adjacent activities and ideas
  13. Seeks links between non-adjacent activities, ideas and between different topics
  14. Independently seeks further information, following up ideas raised in class
  15. Seeks links between different subjects
  16. Asks inquisitive but general questions
  17. Offers personal examples which are generally relevant
  18. Seeks specific links between schoolwork and personal life
  19. Searches for weaknesses in their own understanding; checks the consistency of their explanations across different situations
  20. Suggests new activities and alternative procedures
  21. Expresses disagreement
  22. Offers ideas, new insights and alternative explanations
  23. Justified opinions
  24. Reacts and refers to comments of other students
  25. Challenges the text or an answer the teacher sanctions as correct

Good learning behaviours: 3-2-1

Good learning behaviours need to be taught, and it can take time to develop some of the more advanced behaviours.

  • Choose three skills that students might develop at an early stage with differentiated learning
  • Choose two you would say are more advanced and would need several years of development
  • How you would help students develop one the more advanced behaviours you have selected?

Are there any good learning behaviours in the list that you disagree with, or that you feel have been missed?

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Differentiation for Learning

National STEM Learning Centre