Best Practice

Student-led research or project work

We often try to boost independent learning skills by asking pupils to select topics for research projects, especially for the Extended Project. Dr Andrew K Shenton looks at how we can facilitate this process

A common strategy employed in both primary and secondary school phases by teachers who are seeking to enhance their students’ independent learning skills lies in asking the youngsters to research an area that is of particular interest to them.

In addition to developing abilities associated with inquiry, students gain valuable practice in the traditional literacies of reading and writing, and given that the learners have the freedom to make their own decisions with regard to what they will investigate, levels of motivation are likely to be high.

In some instances, inspiration for the project will not come from the teacher personally; rather, the work will form an essential part of a wider course or, in the case of the Extended Project qualification offered in many schools at post-16, lead directly to a formal qualification.

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