The Big PictureTeachers at Squirrel Hayes First School in Biddulph, Staffordshire monitor every child’s use of learning behaviours in every single lesson. But why are they doing this? What are the benefits? Is it worth it? Headteacher Erica Pickford explains that this data gives teachers and the school the ability to track and identify successful learning behaviours at both a whole school and ‘drilled down’ level. The information is then used in two ways:
- to inform the design of future teaching and learning opportunities more generally
- to support learners themselves in identifying and interpreting their own learning behaviours and making a stronger link to how these behaviours impact on not only their own success but that of their peers.
Back to the startLet’s wind back a bit to see how all this has become possible and how it made a start in the school. The headteacher came across and started work on Building Learning Power about nine years ago and even back then felt that the approach had the potential to make a difference to the pupils of Squirrel Hayes. Despite what the school’s name might suggest the school sits in one of the most deprived areas of the country. The proportion of disadvantaged children is well above national average and the proportion of pupils with SEN and/or disabilities is high. The school’s recent achievement of an Ofsted Good across all areas is testament to the school’s continuing commitment to adopt and adapt the approach for pupils throughout the school.
A focus of learning behaviours from the startThe children are introduced to learning dispositions as soon as they enter the nursery and reception classes. Here the school’s version of the learning behaviours that make up a resilient, resourceful, reciprocal and reflective learner are slowly brought into the language and culture of the classroom.
The school’s interpretation of the learning dispositionsHere we see how the dispositions have been interpreted in short form. Those of you who are familiar with the BLP model will notice some differences in interpretation from the original.
Resilience. Be ready, willing and able…managing distractions, being involved and concentrating, never giving up.
Resourcefulness. Investigating and exploring…finding out and exploring, being willing to have a go, asking questions like an investigator
Reciprocity. Being fair and working together…listen carefully to others, work well in a team, sharing wonderful ideas.
Reflectiveness. Creating and thinking…having my own ideas, making links, choosing imaginative ways of doing things
Teachers who first introduce the approach to pupils
Recording the actual behaviours
What of the other three learning dispositions…
- Resourceful Rupert – the tortoise
- Reciprocal Reece – the polar bear
- Reflective Rebecca – the lion
Descriptions of how they were used
Back to collecting and using the data
A scale of useThe recognition and development of learning behaviours is carried on through years one to four. After every lesson teachers make a quick note of every pupil’s effort for the learning behaviours being expected in that lesson. They use the following scale:
- Level 3 – Exemplary behaviour for learning
- Level 2 – Expected high standard of behaviour for learning
- Level 1 – Below expected standard of learning impacting on progress in the lesson
- Level 0 – Poor behaviour of learning impacting on their own and others progress in the lesson