Comprehension – a vital key to unlocking deeper learning in a virtual world

How well do your pupils understand the work they are given in this time of virtual learning?  In a classroom the teacher fills the gaps explains the unfamiliar and corrects misconceptions.  How can we ensure this happens at home?

Comprehension is essential if pupils are to deepen their learning and unlock their potential to make sense of how the world works.  Blooms in its original form and the more recent revised form (as above) both recognise the importance of comprehension or understanding quite early on in their respective hierarchical pyramids. We cannot begin to analyse, justify, compare and contrast or evaluate until we have the skills with which to make sense of the facts. In any classroom we would expect to see some or all of the list below.

  • Discussion
  • Collaboration
  • Investigation
  • The acquisition of knowledge
  • Practice and reinforcement
  • What the learner produces to obtain feedback

For all of the above there is an essential component part which is being able to understand the information they have at their disposal. Learning how to de-code the written word or other information will lead to pupils being able to share, have a discussion or do some independent enquiry of their own. There is an opportunity here to focus on how to help your pupils to shape their own learning. Pupils should reflect and ask questions to test their own understanding of the content of the work being given to them or the reading they are asked to undertake.  Learning how to deeply understand text or indeed other materials such as graphs, charts, photographs and diagrams will reinforce what they already know and provide the platform to then build new learning.

A friend and colleague of mine developed a tool for her PGCE students to use as part of their teaching of English.  We have adapted the 5Ps of comprehension for English into 5Ps for other subjects and for non-fiction texts, worksheets or indeed graphs, photographs and diagrams.  Create for your pupils studying from home an opportunity to use a tool that will help them to articulate what they do understand and to focus on where they are unsure. It will give all pupils the confidence to reflect on the importance of understanding what they are given to support their developing knowledge.

The five Ps of comprehension   – Download the questions in this PDF that will provide pupils with an opportunity to reflect on how well they understand what they are reading or researching. The 5Ps are listed below.

  • Points of View – What is the text telling you and do you agree?
  • Patterns and connections – How has reading this added to what you already know?
  • Puzzles – What is puzzling you?
  • Possibilities? – Now you know this what else can you learn to add to your understanding?
  • Prediction – What might happen if…?

We are producing a suite of on-line training courses for leaders, managers and teachers in schools and colleges. These will be available after the Easter holiday at the end of April.  Keep up your CPD. Continue to follow our weekly posts with advice for how to support pupils learning from home.