Research School Network: Learning Behaviours: bolt in not bolt on How do we embed the teaching and development of learning behaviours so ALL pupils have the skills and motivation to succeed?

Learning Behaviours: bolt in not bolt on

How do we embed the teaching and development of learning behaviours so ALL pupils have the skills and motivation to succeed?

by Great Heights Research School: West Yorkshire
on the

The evidence around effective learning behaviours has emerged from the rich and diverse evidence base represented in a range of EEF Guidance Reports. They form a crucial interconnecting puzzle of useable evidence. Successful learning behaviours rely on layering all these areas to wrap around every child in our schools.

How far is the evidence around learning behaviours bolted into every aspect of school life avoiding the pitfalls of bolt on approaches?

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Considering the evidence from a number of EEF Guidance Reports brings together positive learning behaviours for all. Ensuring we have all the pieces of the puzzle in place is crucial.

How might you explore learning behaviours within your setting?

  • Do you have a shared language? 
  • What do you mean by positive learning behaviours’? 
  • How far would colleagues in your school share your views? 
  • What language is used in school to describe your vision, your ethos and learning behaviours? 
  • How is this communicated to pupils, teachers and parents? 

The language of learning behaviours is full of potentially tricky terminology. Words and terms such as: independence, character education, resilience, life skills and motivation to name just a few. How might you prioritise these terms within your context? Which are most important for your pupils? Why?

Once we have established a shared language, we are then able to zoom in on each of the jigsaw pieces that fuse together to support development of effective learning behaviours.


The potential impact of this approach has become well known through the high ranking on the Teaching and Learning Toolkit but how far is this bolted into pedagogy and curriculum planning and not viewed as a bolt on?

Metacog screen
  • Do teachers provide conditions for learning behaviours and encourage self regulation?
  • What metacognitive strategies are being explicitly taught? 
  • Is time allowed for guided and independent practice?
  • What scaffolds are in place to support metacognitive strategies? 
  • How are children challenged?
  • What type of feedback do children receive? When? How often?
  • When do staff model metacognitive self-talk? 
  • What strategies do they model?
  • Is purposeful pupil to pupil talk planned within lessons?
  • What does metacognition look like in each subject/​class?

We are just beginning to scratch the surface here, you could investigate this further through use of the more detailed audit tool linked below.

Armed with a shared language around learning behaviours we are able to consider existing strengths and areas for development linked to each piece of the evidence puzzle and in turn identify the biggest priority that is amenable to change. 

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Metacognition and Self Regulated Learning School Audit Tool

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