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Kiama Public School

Kiama Public School

Let Your Deeds Shine

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Kiama Public School staff began training in the HOW2Learn Program in 2016. 

Ongoing professional development through HOW2Learn sessions is an important part of our staff meetings with teachers transferring their knowledge of 21st Century learning into their classrooms. Our teachers are explicitly teaching habits so that our students are learning to be highly effective learners.

HOW2Learn Rationale and background information

Education systems around the world are trying to keep pace with the changes required to prepare students for a world that is evolving at a rapid rate.

HOW2Learn is based on research from leading educationalists and psychologists from around the world who believe that “Learning to Learn” is a key goal in a 21st Century Classroom. Students need a centralised focus on developing “qualities of mind” that are highly relevant and transferrable throughout their lives. These qualities include the ability to think deeply and critically, to communicate effectively and to learn cooperatively and responsibly.

Learning for Life is the main goal!

  • We are creating a powerful culture of learning
  • We are learning about learners by challenging beliefs and perceptions of intelligence and learning
  • We are empowering all learners with the language, habits and dispositions that promote successful learning.
  • The teachers are developing teaching practices that accelerate learning for all students.

Mindsets for learning

Carol Dweck (2006) found that individuals with a fixed mindset believe that their intelligence is an inborn trait - they have a certain amount, and that’s that. In contrast, individuals with a growth mindset believe that they can develop their intelligence over time.

Teaching students to value a growth mindset means that they are free to be honest about their challenges and difficulties with learning. Students can then look to learn from experiences and will believe with effort and determination that they can improve or even excel.

Students at Kiama Public School are learning to recognise that “struggle” is often a part of the learning process and that it is important to spend effortful thinking time when learning new skills and problem solving.

The learning pit

The Learning Pit recognises that when we learn something new, we are faced with the reality of what we don’t currently know. (James Nottingham 2012)

Helping students to understand that learning something new can be tough (that they just don’t know it yet) is helpful in ensuring that tasks are approached with increased determination and resilience.

Students at our school are confident in placing themselves in the various sections of the learning pit as they are developing new skills.

HOW2Learn dispositions and habits

Teachers are constantly looking for ways in which to engage their students; to fill them with a passion for learning not only in the classroom but in the world beyond.

The types of attributes needed for our students to become lifelong learners are found in the HOW2Learn framework as dispositions and habits of highly effective learners. When we look at the types of habits that students need to access deeper layers of understanding, we see habits such as questioning, planning, remembering, meta-learning and collaboration. We want students who learn to see themselves as their own teachers, who are constantly being prepared for a life time of learning.

HOW2Learn addresses the curriculum in deep, meaningful ways and builds students’ capacity to be connected and robust learners both in the classroom and beyond the school gates.

The HOW2Learn dispositions and habits are as follows:


Self-regulation is the emotional aspect of learning where learners are ready, willing and able to connect with the learning and work through difficulties.

  • Managing Distractionsrecognising and reducing interruptions
  • Absorption  -  flow; the pleasure of being rapt in learning
  • Mindfulness  -  focusing attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations of learning
  • Resilience  –  developing a “learning tough” attitude, sticking with it when learning is hard.


Responsibility is the ethical aspect of learning where learners are ready, willing and able to be accountable for their individual and community action towards themselves, other and the environment.

  • Critical Thinking  – looking for good reasons and sound evidence to make fair decisions
  • Open-mindedness  – being open and considerate of the opinions and actions of others
  • Accountability  -  owning your decisions and being aware of their effect on yourself, others and the environment.


Reciprocity is the social aspect of learning where learners are ready, willing and able to connect socially with others for mutually beneficial learning.

  • Imitation  –  picking up the skills, behaviours and values of others
  • Effective listening  –  being present, with your senses activated for learning
  • Social intelligence  –  learning with and from others in multiple ways
  • Empathy – being able to understand and share the feelings of others.


Resourcefullness is the thinking aspect of learning where learners are ready, willing and able to choose and use resources – knowing what to do, when you don't know what to do.

  • Questioning – getting below the surface: playing with situations and being curious
  • Making links – seeking connections, coherence, relevance and meaning
  • Reasoning – thinking rigorously and methodically
  • Imagining – using the mind’s eye as a learning theatre
  • Capitalising – finding and making good use of multiple resources.


Reflectiveness is the strategic aspect of learning where learners are ready, willing and able to becritically self aware and responsive to feedback.

  • Planning and revising – working things out in advance and monitoring and adapting along the way
  • Remembering – developing strategies to recall and retrieve information
  • Meta-learning – understanding learning and yourself as a learner
  • Distilling – drawing out the main lessons from the experience.