Honiton Community College > Subjects > PLaTS > Thinking Through School
PLaTS Personal Learning and Thinking Skills

How do we learn? - Thinking through School

Welcome, here you will find information about the 'Thinking Through School' unit

What is it?

A story about ‘eLfi and Jaz’ designed to arouse students’ interest and involvement in their own learning. It is also a really useful tool for teachers and students’ to share their experience of learning at the college and work together to improve it.

What is the story about?

Jaz is a young girl who discovers an Artificial Intelligence in a skip. She has had a bad day at school so at first finding the A.I. is a welcome distraction. The problems arise when Jaz realises that eLfi (she names him after his model code: A.I./Lfi) is not functioning properly and needs careful programming to keep him out of trouble!

On one level the story is about Jaz’s struggle to pass eLfi off as a human being. On another level, it is about an exploration of learning and what it means to be a learner.

How does it work?

As a class we read the story book together and then discuss the ideas that are raised and try out some activities to put theories to the test, exploring our strengths/weaknesses and identifying ways of improving. Following this launch lesson the students complete activities in their ‘Operator Notebook’ that challenge them to investigate their learning in and out of college. In the follow-up session the information gathered is shared and discussed as a ‘Community of Enquiry’

Characteristics of a Community of Enquiry


... develop the courage to think for themselves and share their point of view

...become aware of other people’s viewpoints (to tolerate them, value them, learn from them)

...take responsibility for their thinking (clearly support their views with reasons, tenacity when defending their ideas but also a willingness to change their mind if faced with a better alternative)

...feel a sense of belonging to the group, of being listened to, of being valued and respected.

Chapter Guides


Problem for eLFi and Jaz

Key Ideas


What’s school for?

How should she motivate him to go to school?

Motivation and Learning
see work  by Ashley, Adam and Sam 


What do I think of myself?

Why do his confidence levels keep falling to zero?

Self-concept; confidence and learning


What is learning anyway?

What is his dominant learning channel? Is a human memory better than a 900 gigabyte memory?

Learning about how you learn; memory and learning


Think on your feet!

Can he be taught to think?

Thinking Tools; developing a Thinking Toolkit


What’s wrong with the way I talk?

What kind of talk should he use to think and learn well with others?

Different types of talk; using Exploratory Talk to think together



Can he change the way he thinks about things by changing the words he uses?

Reframing; keeping a positive frame of mind


Picture this!

What is the point of visual thinking?

Visual Thinking; reading images; visualisation; representing thinking visually


What’s the big idea?

How can she help him to see the ‘Big Picture’?

The big concepts and skills that underpin learning in different subjects; finding connections between subjects


Just listen to yourself think!

How can she get him to start thinking about thinking?

Metacognition; focusing on the ‘how’ not the ‘what’ of learning


Recycle it!

How can she get him to recycle what he has learnt?

Transferring learning; making connections between school and everyday life
Nick's target board presentation would help him to choose the best Radio Controlled car!

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