Hard to reach and hard to teach: supporting the self-regulation of learning in an alternative provision secondary school

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Putwain, DW ; Nicholson, LJ ; Edwards, JL

© 2015 Taylor & Francis. Since 2010, new types of state-funded schools have opened in England with a focus on providing alternative education provision. Very little is known about these schools, partly due to their novelty, and how they are attempting to re-engage those students who for various, and often complex, reasons have become disconnected from education. We scrutinised the approach used at one such school to examine what instructional practices were used, how they were adapted to the needs of the students and what factors enabled and obstructed (re)engagement. Data were collected over a month-long fieldwork visit and included semi-structured interviews with staff and students, and semi-structured classroom observations. Instructional approaches were used that supported the learning of students who were not experienced in, or had difficulty with, regulating their learning. These included breaking down tasks, providing lots of on-task prompts, encouragement, using frequent feedback and scaffolding, and offering quick support to students. This approach allowed students to re-engage with their learning and make progress towards important qualifications required for entry to the labour market and post-compulsory education and training.
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