What do all these terms have in common? Firstly and foremost they are all areas of children’s thinking skills which are linked to High Performance Learning (HPL). As teachers in Year 6 of the Primary School (Elementary School) we are always trying to present the students with learning that is not only academically challenging but which gives them access to what we call Advanced Cognitive Processes (ACPs).
One of my favorite ACPs is ‘Intellectual playfulness’. Typically, I might ask my students a ‘what if?’ question. What would happen if there was no gravity? What would happen if there was no friction? What would happen if there was no zero in our counting system? All these questions challenge the pupils’ understanding of the subject at hand in a way that just memorising the facts and figures does not. We actively encourage our children to think creatively, based on reason, in order to innovate.
Especially important is the verbal reasoning behind the answers to these questions. Speaking and listening is such an important part of the curriculum that in Year 6 we are constantly encouraging our pupils to articulate the thoughts and reasoning behind their solutions to the many and varied ACPs, and in so doing we expose them one of the most stimulating and important principles of High Performance Learning.
In summary HPL has offered our pupils a framework for helping each one of them to reach their full potential by developing the ‘complete’ student and by taking down barriers to their potential achievement. With HPL all students can strive to reach high levels of not only attainment but perhaps more significantly, progression and personal development.