What is Independent Study?
Independent study is learning, that is set to be done outside the timetabled curriculum and is not usually directly supervised by a teacher. Independent study enhances student learning, improves achievement and develops students' study skills and as such is an integral part of the curriculum.
Research shows that independent study has a positive impact on student progress. At MEA we believe independent study is an essential part of learning and expect all our students to engage with it in a positive way.
Aims of Independent Study
Independent study enables students to:
- Embed crucial knowledge in to their long term memory.
- Build a greater knowledge base to which new learning can be anchored.
- Take ownership and responsibility for their learning.
- Enhance their study skills e.g. planning, time management and self-discipline.
Retrieval Practice ‘the testing effect’
Independent study at MEA is strongly focused on retrieval practice, as evidence shows that this approach facilitates improved retention of knowledge. This fits with our knowledge rich curriculum, as outlined in our curriculum policy. Retrieval practice is the process of trying to retrieve or recall knowledge from memory. When done regularly and consistently this process helps knowledge ‘stick’. This can support learning in lessons and performance in exams.
Year 7 and 8 students are given a Knowledge Organiser to keep at home, this is part of our Independent Study Policy. The Knowledge Organiser contains all the essential knowledge that they need to complete their independent study over the half term. Subject teachers will regularly set tasks based on the Knowledge Organiser, tasks will be explained thoroughly to students in lessons. Students should keep their Knowledge Organiser in a safe place and keep it in good condition.
How can parents and carers help with Independent Study?
Parents and carers can support students by viewing independent study as an important part of their learning, by discussing independent study with them and encouraging them to be organised in completing it. Providing a quiet area at home for students to study in is also very helpful.