Our top tips for becoming a great learner in 2023

Want to get the most out of your 2023 learning journey? Blackfriars’ Director of Teaching, Learning and Pathways Carl Todman has shared his top tips for becoming a great learner.

“Remember that you’re not always learning subject content,” Mr Todman said.

“A large portion of the time, you’re going to be learning about yourself. You’re going to be learning about who you are as a person, your strengths, the areas that you need to work on, recognising your talents and your special gifts.

“You’re going to be learning about relationships and how they work with your friends and your teachers, your parents, your coaches and so on. You’ll also be learning about the world and how the world works.”

Mr Todman chats with Year 12 student and Prefect Harry Boyd-Turner.

Take responsibility for yourself as a learner

“Learning is not something that is done to you. It’s not something that’s done for you. It’s something that you need to engage in. You have an amazing opportunity to engage in learning and to grow as a person.”

Ask questions

“You are surrounded by amazing teachers who are full of energy and are ready to help you with your learning. Primary school kids are amazing at asking questions; hundreds of them, every day. But as our boys go through Year 7 and into Middle School and beyond, I feel as though some become really self-conscious about asking questions. Sometimes, they might even feel a sense of shame. Think about having the courage to ask questions. Asking questions is an amazing way to learn.”

Put genuine effort into your learning

“Genuinely try to do your best. Developing a work ethic is incredibly important. Employers expect you to have work ethic. They expect you to turn up on time and have energy and dedication and strive to do your best. And here at school, it’s no different.”

Develop self-discipline

“Developing the discipline to spend 10 minutes reading every night after school, or maybe developing the discipline to sit for an hour and prepare for a Physics test in Year 12. It’s about developing the habit and routine of studying at home and having the discipline to do that. That is what successful learners do; they put time and effort into their studies.”

Learn from your mistakes

“Sometimes your teachers are going to tell you you’ve done an amazing job on a piece of work or assignment. Other times, that feedback might not quite be so positive. It’s about embracing that feedback and having the resilience to turn around and have another crack at it and do something a little bit better. We often learn the most when we fail.”

Create short-term goals

“Sometimes … you are presented with tasks that can seem quite overwhelming. Or you have to do, particularly in the senior years, really significant pieces of work. So think about breaking assignments up into small pieces – ‘chunking’ your work. One of the strategies I share is to try to get down 100 words a day. Make sure those 100 words are really excellent words and then you can move on. Chip away at it. ‘Chunking’ it into small parcels makes things a bit more manageable.”

Limit distractions

“Find time to be away from a screen, turn your phone off, to not have your phone with you. It’s a big challenge for you, but it’s something you’re going to have to work towards achieving.”

Find balance

“You need to make time to exercise. You need to make time to relax. You need to make time to socialise. And you need to make time to do your work. And that’s why our four pillars are so important here at Blackfriars. Taking time for prayer, time for study, time for community, time to serve others provides you with a platform for that balance. And if you can use that for a model in your own lives, I am sure you will have a fabulous 2023.”


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