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Characteristics of Effective Learning

What are the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning?


When we think of ‘teaching and learning’ it is easy to think about being taught to read, write and understand mathematical strategies. It is easy to overlook that there are skills and knowledge that are invaluable to  develop and practice alongside more academic skills in order for it all to become embedded, practised, and investigated. These are the ‘Characteristics’ and another way of looking at them is to call them the skills we need for life.


This means that everything at the setting, including the environments that your children are active in throughout the day, has been thought about and developed with these Characteristics in mind. They are the three characteristics that drive our teaching and signpost to us that a child is learning:


The Characteristics of Effective Learning are divided into three sections. They’re all interconnected and overlap with one another, and hopefully you’ll already recognise a lot of these characteristics in your children. All children demonstrate each of them at some time – provided they’re given the opportunities to do so.


Playing and exploring - Engagement


There are three strands under this characteristic. They are:


  • Finding out and exploring
  • Playing with what they know
  • Being willing to ‘have a go’


Active learning – Motivation


There are three strands under this characteristic. They are:


  • Being involved and concentrating
  • Keeping on trying
  • Enjoying achieving what they set out to do


Creating and thinking critically – Thinking


Once again there are three strands under this characteristic. They are:


  • Having their own ideas
  • Making links
  • Choosing ways to do things