TEMPERA Framework

From fitting students in a structure to a structure that fits each student 

What is TEMPERA?

TEMPERA is a methodology designed for IB students, based on Cognitive Psychology, Self-Regulated Learning and Metacognition.

the 3 pillars 

(1) Organisation of work, meaning both time management and tasks organisation

Time management and task organisation are skills that are mandatory for success in any activity, not only in learning. In TEMPERA framework, the work under ‘T’ letter comprises:

(a) set of learning goals, by discussing with parents and student and making sure that a minimum goal is assumed by the student

(b) management of time and tasks by settling a written schedule for all activities and a plan for completion of tasks. It is a skill that will provide students a sense of control over their learning and their academic outcomes, bringing changes in at least 2 of the three dimensions of self-regulated learning that Bandura mentioned, namely: (b) personal factors – mastering this skill will make changes in learner’s beliefs about his capabilities and will also influence on (c) behavioural factors, concerning attitude toward learning. Self-efficacy is also nourished, by setting goals and following up on them.

Exam preparation, ‘E’, is where all information regarding future exams or tests is gathered. Oftentimes, students find themselves in a lack of knowledge related to what is expected of them, examination criteria and the specific content required. This is an important step without which the preparation couldn’t even begin, so students will be assisted in gathering all these pieces of information. Taking control over time and tasks  and also understanding the requirements for examinations will answer a criterion in Ryan and Deci’s self-determination theory, which is autonomy – the perception that one is in control of his own actions (see chapter 2.1.)

(2) Methods and techniques that lead to efficient learning (more knowledge and comprehension in less time)

The second pillar, methods and techniques that lead to efficient learning, is represented by the letters E, P and R. This pillar focuses on building skills on learning how to learn. Due to traditional learning in school, described in chapter 1.1, students don’t have an opportunity to develop sound learning skills along the years. Teachers are not trained in efficient learning methods and no curriculum has a specific time intended for such an endeavour. Efficient learning has its own tools and methods, just as any other skill. In lack of such knowledge, students build personal strategies on learning throughout school years, some proving effective and many not. Encoding, ‘E’, and Practicing, ‘P’, are addressing this exact problem: how to study efficiently, what are modern methods when learning and how to rehearse, how to practice what was learned so it is not forgotten soon. On this ground, metacognition concepts could be introduced. Students will reflect on their own strategies in the light of their new knowledge of learning process. Through metacognition methods they will be able to expand and adapt new ways of approaching learning and, as highlighted in chapter 6.4., through metacognition self-efficacy beliefs could be fostered.

Study skills are a milieu of skills essential for students’ success, involving all aspects of learning and one’s ability to identify and apply proper learning strategy for a specific task, but trans disciplines. Study skills incorporate a wide range of student capabilities, from the capacity to retain and organize new information, to recall when preparing or in an exam, concentration techniques and prolonged attention span, until practical techniques applied, like note taking, self-test, listening skills . Students who are skilled learners have a broad range of techniques and they are more flexible in adjusting according with the specific task.

As metacognition and self-regulated learning are per se high order study skills, they can help foster other study skills in students. By using the self-regulated learning circle one can foster other study skills as the questions in the three phases are referring to the skill not to the content to be learned.

Working with students in these areas is extremely relevant for building the competency level in Ryan and Deci’s self-determination theory. ‘R’, the last letter of this pillar, tackles a more specific skill, which is the ability to look for resources and research on different topics. The amount of information available made it tremendously harder to find relevant data in any research area. While it is great that so much knowledge is available, the distinction between valuable and unimportant becomes a challenge for students, therefore it must be addressed. Knowing how to look for resources is an important step towards becoming independent learners.

(3) Emotional support, how to approach exams and difficult situations in the best emotional and cognitive state possible.

Emotional augmentation is the third pillar of TEMPERA and it contains Motivation and Anxiety regulation. The motivation, ‘M’, is where the attitudes towards school and learning are assessed and further addressed. As Bandura and later Ryan and Deci stated, motivation is key to achieving any goal, and academic success is no exception. Under this letter, levels of motivation will be assessed, according to the framework proposed by Ryan and Deci and discussed in chapter 2.1., so that the proper actions could be taken. The final letter, ‘A’, stands for anxiety and it is the most common feeling students face right before and during exams. Anxiety is responsible for many failures in exams, many students being overwhelmed by anxiety, thus constant emotional support is needed. Furthermore, many deadlines and school obligations can lead to misunderstandings and tensions in the family, making necessary conflict resolution methods.

We assess and consider carefully the individual needs, learning style and personality of each student, so that we create a personalized planning based on the time available and current status of activity completion. 

Setting achievable goals and following up together with the student eliminates feelings of overwhelming and helplessness and is turning the IB experience into a success.

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