Session title: Independent learning

Learning Independence – techniques for improving lesson observation outcomes overnight


Learning Independence is a half-day session.

Information for event organisers

Too many organisations rely heavily on teaching and learning observation grade profiles to determine their effectiveness and the impact of development work. Observation grades are too often flawed or overly biased towards what teachers and their learners do, rather than the difference the chosen teaching strategies make. And in too many cases, teachers focus almost exclusively on the development of learners’ vocational skills and coverage of the syllabus at the expense of creating expert learners who can do much of this for themselves.

The identification of independent learning skills as one of key differentiators between a good and an outstanding lesson is at the heart of the HoT Learning Model (The Hierarchy of Teaching and Learning). We produced this model in 2006 for the Adult Learning Inspectorate following our documentary ArtsWork*, which investigates the transformational impact of outstanding teaching. In 2012, Ofsted also made the development of learning independence one of its own overt criteria for outstanding.

Yet many teachers misunderstand the term ‘independent learning’ and fail to see how their strategies need to evolve to allow this sustainable skill to develop in their learners. This can have grave consequences for organisations. We have found that teachers who ignore the development of core independent learner skills are at greater risk of their lessons being graded: ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’. It does not take many of these grades to effect the judgement on overall effectiveness.

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 staff 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
  • Consider the fertile infrastructure needed to enable independent learning to flourish

What the delegates say

  • A squeezed out, dried up dinosaur teacher that’s just been rehydrated. Trafford College
  • Very exciting and the time has flown too fast. Bellerby’s (Oxford)
  • I have had so many lights switched on!! Canterbury College
  • It helped challenge pre-conceived notions. Collyer’s College
  • I will look at developing independency skills rather than just allowing students to work independently. Hertford Regional College
  • I thought I had reached the top of the mountain regarding learning strategies. Now I feel like I’ve plenty more climbing to do. Myerscough College
  • You brought back memories of how I felt when I first began to teach. Solihull College
  • I feel like a caged animal whose cage door has been left open… Tresham College

Why not see what other providers said about this training? Click here, then ‘Filter by session’, and select the title for an overview of providers’ feedback. You may then wish to ‘Filter by provider’ to see further details of the impact it has had on individual staff. These comments can be invaluable when generating curiosity about forthcoming training.


Half-day session. Typical uses in a staff development day include:

Independent learning (group 1) Independent learning (group 2)
HoT Learning Independent learning
Independent learning HoT2 – techniques for engaging learners
Independent learning Equality and diversity
Independent learning ‘Yes, we’re all individuals’ Brian, 1979
Independent learning Transformational lesson observation


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.