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Managing Barriers To Learning. Staff Professional Development Training 2012-13 Wednesday 5 th December 2012 OBJECTIVES: To explore barriers to learning in the classroom (Teaching Standard 2: Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils)

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managing barriers to learning
Managing Barriers To Learning

Staff Professional Development Training 2012-13

Wednesday 5th December 2012

  • To explore barriers to learning in the classroom
    • (Teaching Standard 2: Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils)
  • Develop strategies to meet the needs of pupils who struggle to meet expected progress
    • (5: Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils)
  • Reflect on the success of new strategies through peer observation and discussion
    • (8.2 develop effective professional relationships with colleagues, knowing how and when to draw on advice and specialist support.
    • 8.4: take responsibility for improving teaching through appropriate professional development, responding to advice and feedback from colleagues)
managing barriers to learning1
Managing Barriers To Learning


Since the last session…

What barriers to learning did you attempt to address in your observed lesson?

What strategies did you try?

What did you learn / observe?


Boys Achievement:

Reflect on the media clip.

What strategies could/would you employ to tackle boys’ confidence, behaviour, effort or disaffection in your lessons?

Strategies may vary depending on the subjects taught by those in your triad.


At one time or another, we all prevent ourselves from learning. These barriers often come in two forms:

Learning Defences — general ways we actively prevent ourselves from learning

Learning Obstacles — beliefs, people or events that get in the way of specific learning goals


Learning Defences

Defending against learning because of sources

e.g. personality issues, stereotyping, status

Defending against learning because of content

e.g. conflicting beliefs, extra effort messages, messages that cause embarrassment

Defending against learning because of message delivery

e.g. past experiences, learning beliefs


Learning Obstacles

Lack of importance or uncertainty of importance. You will be more motivated to learn a task that you perceive to be important than one you consider trivial or one for which you have no clear sense of its importance.

Difficulty in reaching a learning goal. The more difficult a learning goal is to reach, the more likely that you will create excuses and/or reasons for not reaching the goal.

Stress in reaching a learning goal. You will be less motivated to reach a learning goal that you perceive to involve a lot of stress than one you believe to be stress-free.

Doubts about success. Doubts about your own ability to succeed in learning a task will erode your motivation. It is much easier to be motivated about learning goals that you know you can accomplish.

Lack of control. Learning something that you know you will be able to control and use is easier than learning something for which you are not sure you can control and use. For example, you may be asked to learn a new computer program, but know that you will not be able to use the program in your day-to-day work because of lack of hardware/software.


Learning Obstacles

  • Poor attitude regarding the goal. You may have developed a negative attitude regarding a learning goal because of negative past experiences with similar goals.
  • Lack of support from others. A real motivation killer can be the lack of enthusiasm and support for your learning from people around you. Worse yet is when others actively denigrate your learning goal
  • Hassles. Sometimes learning can create a number of hassles in your life: higher expectations, more work, and more complexity in your work are just some examples. If you see these hassles coming, your motivation to learn may be reduced.
  • Lack of advantages. You usually learn something because it will make you more effective in what you do or move you towards a bigger goal you want to reach. If you cannot see how a learning task will improve your performance and/or lead to bigger goals, you will likely be less motivated to learn.
  • Remember: Addressing just one obstacle will change the intensity of the rest.


  • Make learning as inclusive and personalised as possible
  • Set suitable learning challenges
  • Respond to pupils’ diverse learning needs
  • Build in strategies to manage real or perceived barriers
managing barriers to learning5
Managing Barriers To Learning
  • Multiple Intelligence Tests:
  • My Computer
  • Shared Docs
  • Learning Styles Tests and Questionnaires
  • Multiple Intelligence Test for Young People
  • All other resources and relevant research, along with strategies attempted during the lesson observations, are available to use on the T&L website:

Thank-you for your effort and participation