By BGS Executive Director – Educational Innovation Jacqui Zervos
With the start of the 2021 school year, we have implemented a new timetable structure to include daily consolidation and preparation time (CP time). A newsletter article explaining our rationale and the new structure was published at the end of 2020 (Term 4 Week 6 – Lead Article).
CP time is designed to help boys develop highly effective learning habits; habits that enact independence, interdependence and ownership of learning. This also occurs during normal lessons, but the focus here is highly explicit. In CP time, boys will focus on effective strategies for consolidation, preparation and revision. Repeating these self-directed strategies in a dedicated, structured period will encourage boys to develop productive scholarly habits.
This week, students in all year levels were given a thorough introduction to CP time explaining its structure, our expectations, and tasks to help them launch into their new units of study.
Consolidating means to bring learning together in a meaningful and coherent way. CP activities aim to achieve a deeper and more integrated understanding of discipline-specific subject matter. Activities that help consolidate learning include: using graphic organisers to represent understanding; reviewing and editing writing or exercises done in lessons to check the detail and increase precision; and identifying questions or uncertainties to ask for help from peers or teachers.
Students may also spend CP time preparing for upcoming lessons by reading and reviewing essential material or completing pre-quizzes. Preparation leads to more active and insightful engagement in discipline-specific learning activities, and is essential to maximise learning, reduce anxiety and build good scholarly habits.
Revision is the third aspect of CP time. Building easily retrievable knowledge networks in long-term memory is a foundation of academic success. Until an idea or an understanding is stored in long-term memory, it has not been learned. Students are encouraged to regularly and repeatedly review consolidated ideas, procedures and/or understandings, which improves memory function.
Just as we did during home-based learning, the Learning Organisation Team at BGS (responsible for learning analytics and evidence-informed improvement) will systematically monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of CP time. We will gather student, teacher and parent feedback to inform the processes and programs to increase student agency and ownership of learning during CP time. We seek your support in this endeavour.