Teaching and Learning
When boys arrive at Eton they usually find themselves in classes of 20 to 24. As they progress and they make their own choices about what to learn, the class sizes tend to reduce, the size depending on the subject and its popularity in a given year. A typical GCSE class in D block (year 11) would contain about 15 boys learning a second modern language, for example, and 20 in mathematics. Once AS-level and A-level choices are made, class sizes reduce again, to about 12 in subjects such as mathematics, or to smaller classes in subjects chosen by fewer boys. Eton makes every effort to accommodate a boy’s choices in their entirety, but if a subject is very under-subscribed courses are occasionally withdrawn for a year.
Eton is committed to exploring new approaches in teaching and learning. In-service training encourages masters to deliver their subjects in varied and interesting ways, and to share different approaches with colleagues. Modern technology helps with the process - some masters use "flipped classroom" techniques to allow students to study material outside the schoolroom, allowing more time in school to discuss the difficult aspects of a topic. Increasingly boys bring tablet computers into school and use them to help with their studies as well as laptops for essay writing. Membership of the Global Online Academy allows some specialists to work alongside students in other schools, whilst Eton Online Ventures has been set up to explore the more commercial aspects of new technology in education.
A Centre for Innovation and Research in Learning is being planned; this will include purpose-built spaces in which these new ideas can be developed further.
In the course of a day, each boy will experience several different approaches, just as every master will experience classes of differing ability levels and boys whose optimal learning-styles vary. We are proud of this diversity, and believe that it makes for one of the most rich and rewarding aspects of the school. Whether the technology used is old or new, one thing that pervades our approach is a belief in independent learning - boys are encouraged to question and to challenge, to push their own learning forward.