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Perseverant Parrot

Leaders and Learners Learning Together

The second installment in Fiona Corfield’s series about how The Saints’ Way Multi Academy Trust is embedding learning power.

It’s been a really exciting few weeks as Building Learning Power begins to gather momentum across the academy. We decided that the best way forward, as an academy, is for leaders and learners to learn together.

So this became our starting point. We found that there were key habits such as perseverance, managing distractions and collaboration that were common to most classes. The Early Years team choose to interweave the key learning habits with aspects of EYFS characteristics of learning. While in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 teachers generated icons which could then be put on posters and stickers.

We discussed how we would embed learning habits into practice:

In EYFS a visual learning log is being introduced to accompany the animals as well as using them on the developing process-based displays, to reflect pupils’ learning journeys and the learning habits being used, rather than a focus on the learning outcome.

At Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, we used the icons to create posters and stickers. The posters were introduced first and leaders and learners are gathering examples of what they think the key features of effective collaboration involve and what this might look like in practice.

Working with others to achieve a common goal

Pupils are also being encouraged to identify where they feel they have made effective use of learning habits within their work and have been provided with stickers to highlight their use.

‘We listened to each other to find out what we wanted to create. Sometimes we didn’t agree with each other, but we worked through this to come up with something we both wanted.’
“We worked collaboratively on this topic and came up with the idea together. We listened to each other’s ideas, listened to the ideas of others and had to compromise on a few. We had to revisit a few of our ideas but morning improving things.” Year 6
‘We have been writing a story based in the Three Bears’
‘We decided that we would need to collaborate.’
‘Our goal was to improve our work.’
‘First we corrected our spellings.’
‘Do you know what a homophone is?’
‘They are words that sound the same but mean something different.’
‘I noticed I had used their instead of there.’
‘We looked at punctuation and capital letters.’
‘Then we checked that our sentences made sense.’ Year Three

At the same time we have introduced a challenge planner to enable leaders to provide opportunities for learners, to lead their own learning and demonstrate their use and application of learning habits, knowledge and skills.challengeplanner

The frames provide capacity for leaders and learners to pose an open-ended question that can be explored and presented in a format of the learner’s choosing.

What has been most striking has been the level of engagement by pupils given an increasing level of ownership in their learning. Pupils have collectively outlined the goal they want to achieve and the way in which information would be presented e.g. film clip, Power point, booklet etc. They have identified and allocated roles and responsibilities – who would gather the information, who would create the map… – and developed an evolving plan of action, reflecting on the changes needed along the way.

They were so excited and engaged in the process that we noticed that recording the process became a little lost. On reflection, we decided that our next steps are to ensure that the quality of recorded information on the challenge planners reflects the expectations and quality of work within all other areas of the curriculum.

So how do we measure the impact of what we are doing? We talked to learners about their thoughts and feelings about the new ways of working.

  • ‘We are able to get what we need, not the teacher.’
  • ‘We can find things out for ourselves.’
  • ‘We can show each other how to do things.’
  • ‘There are lots of places we can plan.’
  • ‘This is our learning place.’
That feels like a great start to us!

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