Building Learning Power
‘Helping our children to become better learners’
‘Term on term, year on year, a Building Learning Power school breeds young people who are more curious, more willing to take a risk and give it a go, more imaginative, more creative, more thoughtful, more ready, willing and able to learn with and through others. It’s developing this adventurous spirit that counts’.
Professor Guy Claxton, originator of BLP
What is Learning Power?
Building Learning Power (BLP) is an approach to learning that we have implemented at Christopher Rawlins Church of England Primary School. 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.
At Christopher Rawlins Church of England Primary School, our school ethos is one of striving to be the best we can be, recognising that we all have different strengths and interests. We want to instill certain habits and attitudes to enable our pupils to be more confident in their own learning ability. By becoming better learners, pupils will concentrate more, learn faster and better, think harder and find learning more enjoyable.
We fully appreciate that children today are growing up in a world which is rapidly changing, and we aim to give them the basic and wider skills necessary to be able to succeed now and in the future. It is estimated that many of the jobs that will be available to today’s children as adults don’t even exist yet. Children therefore need to be adaptable, resilient, independent and collaborative in their approach, and able to solve problems to continually learn, develop, improve and succeed.
Building Learning Power allows us to nurture this and build the children’s learning power through a variety of strategies and techniques.
Key Principles of Building Learning Power
- 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 Building Learning Power 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.
What does BLP look like?
The four learning dispositions: Resilience, Resourcefulness, Reflectiveness and Reciprocity 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.
These dispositions are inherent in us all. They are not fixed at birth, or when we leave school; they can be developed by everyone regardless of “ability”, social background or age.
In fact, ...there are NO limits to extending our learning power!
Within each of the four R’s are a number of learning behaviours which can be individually trained, nurtured and exercised.
In school we are working to teach the children how to ‘stretch’ these learning ‘muscles’ within their everyday lessons and activities and how to apply them to different aspects of their learning.
Being resilient is about not giving up.
- Get lost in learning – I can be on task and get completely absorbed in my learning
- Manage distractions – I can shut out distractions when I’m learning
- Persevere – I can stick with my learning, even when I find it hard
- Be creative – I can think in creative ways and use it to further my learning
Being resourceful is about keep looking for other ideas.
- Question – I can ask questions to help me with my learning
- Investigate – I can explore in different ways
- Make connections – I can make connections with what I already know
- Visualise – I can create a picture in my mind
Being reflective is about thinking of what to do and how to improve.
- Plan – I can organise myself for my learning and get on independently
- Be curious – I can find interest in what I’m learning and want to know more
- Reason – I can give reasons for my thinking and work systematically
- Reflect and evaluate – I can reflect and then recognise the next steps for my learning
Being reciprocal is about working alone or in a group.
- Be self reliant – I can recognise when to learn independently and collaboratively
- Be a team player – I can work well as part of a team
- Empathise – I can see things from the viewpoint of others
- Piggy back ideas – I can learn from those around me