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Building Learning Powers

'Since we cannot know what knowledge will be needed in the future, it is senseless to try to teach it in advance. Instead, our job must be to turn out young people who love learning so much, and who learn so well, that they will be able to learn whatever needs to be learned.’  -John Holt

What is Learning Power?

Building Learning Power (BLP) is an approach to learning that we have begun to implement at St Andrews Primary. This approach was created by Professor Guy Claxton. It is based on the idea that we are all capable of becoming better learners. BLP applies this idea directly to the work of teachers in the classrooms, to provide a practical framework for fostering lifelong learning in all young people.

Key Principles

  • It is a learning culture that encourages children and teachers to become better learners
  • It allows children to approach difficulties in learning without fear of failure
  • It allows the children to take small steps within learning
  • It develops confidence
  • It is not additional to teaching but should be grounded within everyday teaching and learning
  • It gives clear labels for the children to use to develop understanding of learning processes.

Why are we Building Learning Power?

We believe that BLP is beginning to allow us to develop a common language for learning across the school. The language is used in all classrooms, with all children. This helps everyone talk about understanding learning to learn. We hope that this understanding will begin to spill over into life outside school, where you will be able to reinforce the ideas by encouraging the children to use their learning language in their everyday lives. The idea is that the 5 dispositions (5 Rs) are like a group of "learning muscles". Just as we can build our physical muscles with the right kind of exercise, learning muscles can also be developed and can grow in strength and stamina. It is these we are aiming to develop in the children.

 

The 5-rs

Resilience

Being ready to learn and not giving up.

-         Noticing

-         Managing distractions

-         Absorption

-         Perseverance

Resourcefulness

Having a range of learning strategies.

-         Questioning

-         Capitalising

-         Making links

-         Reasoning

-         Imagining

Reflectiveness

Thinking as a learner and how to do things better.

-         Planning

-         Revising

-         Distilling

-         Meta Learning

Reciprocity

The social aspects of learning.

-         Collaboration

-         Imitation

-         Empathy and listening

-         Independance

Respect

Looking after each other and our environment

-      Showing manners

 

how you can help at home

Resilience

  • Demonstrate/model sticking at things even if they are difficult.
  • Talk about how you feel when you are taking on new challenges.
  • Praise your child when they persevere but also encourage them to take a break when they have had enough.
  • Help them to find interests and activities that are really absorbing.
  • Talk with them about what helps them to concentrate and manage distractions.

Resourcefulness

  • Encourage questions.
  • Demonstrate making links between different ideas
  • Don’t allow your child’s imagination to shrivel up!
  • Help them to find ways of using resources such as dictionaries, reference books and the Internet.

Reflectiveness

  • Encourage them to take responsibility for preparing for school.
  • Ask not what they did at school, but what they learned.
  • Help them to think about, and plan activities.
  • Encourage flexibility and the ability to change a plan if necessary.

Reciprocity

  • Demonstrate/model being a good learner.
  • Work, play and learn alongside your children, enabling them to pick up good habits through imitation.
  • Make expectations of turn-taking and co-operation clear.

Respect

  • Demonstrate showing respect to everyone
  • Listen to your children.
  • Remind children to take care of their things.