What is Learning Power?
Building Learning Power (BLP) is an approach to learning that we have begun to implement at Cassiobury Infant and Nursery 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.
Key Principles of 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 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 four dispositions (4 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.
What does Building Learning Power look like?
You may have heard your children already using some of the language that has been introduced in school. Professor Claxton suggests there are four main learning dispositions:
- Resilience – not giving up,
- Resourcefulness – being able to use a range of learning strategies and knowing what to do when you get stuck,
- Reflectiveness – being able to think about yourself as a learner and how you might be able to do this better,
- Reciprocity (we call this Team Building) – being able to learn with and from others, as well as on your own.
How to help at home
Here is a brief explanation of each of the Learning Powers and how you can include the language of learning at home:
- Model / demonstrate sticking at things, even if they are difficult
- Talk about how you feel when you are taking on challenges
- Praise your child when they persevere but also encourage then 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
- Encourage questions
- Demonstrate making links between ideas
- Don’t allow your child’s imagination to shrivel up!
- Help them to find ways of using resources such as reference books, dictionaries and the internet
- 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 (Team Building)
- 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