Best Practice

Strategies to improve students’ independent study skills

There is a clear gap between GCSE and A Level study and supporting students to make the leap is important. Teacher Helen Webb discusses her work to develop students’ independent study skills

Last year I taught a particularly challenging cohort of year 12 biologists. While I was privileged to teach some very exceptional young students, there were a disproportionately high number of students that struggled with the demands of post-16 study.

I was faced with three large classes of year 12 biologists, the majority of whom seemed to struggle with anything beyond copying a few notes and completing some basic learning activities.

When I casually flicked through some of the students’ folders, there was little evidence of any independent work completed outside of lessons, save for some token attempts at homework.

Following conversations with these classes it was very apparent that many of these students were feeling very overwhelmed with the increased workload at post-16, were unclear of the expectations from their various subjects, and were generally unclear on how to get started with their studies.

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