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Personal learning and thinking skills

To learn well both in school and out of school you need to develop several skills.

You need to learn how to learn properly and how to think for yourself.

The six personal and thinking skills that are vital to being an effective learner are:

  • Team working - be able to work as part of a team
  • Independent enquiry - be able to work things out for yourself
  • Self-management - be organised about what you do and when you do it
  • Reflective learning - be able to think critically about your learning and set targets to improve
  • Effective participation - be able to make useful contributions
  • Creative thinking - to have ideas of your own

Group activities

  • Illustrate the PLTS in a diagram and add explanations of what each one means in your own words
  • Discuss how well you think your group have be doing so far today with:
    • Being good team players 
    • Being independent from the teacher
    • Organising who is doing what and how long to spend on each task
    • Thinking about what you have been doing and trying to improve your work
    • All participating equally with no-one taking over and no-one sitting back and not doing much
    • Being creative

Individual activities

  • Which of the PLTS do you think you have been doing well in today? Which areas do you need to improve in?
  • Write yourself three targets for things you could improve next time you have a day of activities like today

Special task


Before you start:

In your group identify people to have each of these roles for this activity. One person might need to have two roles.

Team leader - leads the group and makes the final decisions

Timekeeper - reminds the team how much time you have and makes sure all the jobs get done.

Note taker - keeps notes of all the information and decisions

Includer - makes sure everyone has a chance to speak and is listened to

Listener - makes sure everyone in the group is listening to each other and not disturbing other groups by making too much noise

What you need to do:


As a group your task is to create a country. You need to create a national identity for your country. 

You need to present your country in some way