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Learning Power isn’t make believe…not in this school’s classrooms

It's wonderful to be carried away by inspirational platform speakers who take you into the realms of possibility, speak to your inner beliefs about learning, and make change sound oh-so easy. And yet we know that anything worthwhile is never a matter of tweaks here and there, but more a stretching, sometimes tricky, learning journey for everyone in the school. This week we are offered a rare insight into such a learning journey. Shelagh Hughes, ...
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Helping your learners – a new resource

Last week's blog went behind the scenes in Ms Mann's Year 6 maths lesson and captured her working her learning power magic. But Ms Mann is not alone - all the teachers in her school are pursuing the same aim: to build better learners. As their website declares:- "At St Herbert's we have adopted Building Learning Power to help children to become better learners. Building Learning Power is about creating a learning culture in our ...
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Come inside a learning powered maths lesson

Last week we took a peek at junior children from St Herbert's C of E primary school in Keswick talking confidently about their learning power. This week we take a closer look at what's going on in a learning powered maths lesson in Year 6. Take a look at how the story of the lesson unfolds. Year 6 have been working on a unit of algebra and their teacher Ms Mann now thinks the children ...
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Step inside a learning powered school

For some weeks now we've been writing 'behind the scenes' of learning power...how it could look; how it might grow; what students might be encouraged to say; what learning friendly cultures could look and feel like; what emotional behaviours does perseverance seem to be made up of? In effect we have been using what's come to be known as 'could be' language: exploring what could be happening for real. But this week we're delighted to ...
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How might perseverance grow when we nurture it?

Over the last couple of weeks we've been looking at the tricky issue of progression in learning habits. Just before half-term we explored our thinking behind mapping a possible progression in perseverance, and looked at what we thought might be the component parts. This week we take a detailed look at the phases of growth. Read on to find out more. Firstly, a quick reminder about the component parts of perseverance. These are shown in ...
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Unpicking Perseverance

Last week we looked briefly at the progression of learning habits and left you with a tricky challenge.....to try to construct a trajectory for perseverance from 'can't' to 'can do well'. This week we continue this idea and explore our thinking behind mapping the possible progression in learning habits, to answer the question... What does getting better at perseverance look like, sound like, feel like? Read on to find out more. Why bother? Some people ...
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Progression in learning habits

Last week we looked briefly at the role of the teacher, but this week we look at the habits of the Supple Learning Mind framework; what they are, how the labelling has shifted and, importantly, how they might progress over time. If the big ambition of Building Learning Power is to work, the learning behaviours need to become more than ‘can-do’ skills – they need to become learning habits. Teachers contribute to this strengthening of ...
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Learning friendly teacher action and talk

Last week we looked at the classroom focused framework...the Teachers’ Palette, discovering how it has developed in response to changing circumstances and a recognition of the importance of classroom culture. This week we look more closely at the subtle changes teachers of learning power need to make; in designing activities, coaching progress and making talk about learning commonplace. The page below offers glimpses of some of the important aspects of the teacher's role; one that ...
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Creating metacognitive classroom cultures

Last week we reminded ourselves of why we needed to develop better learners and took a brief look at the two frameworks involved. This week we take a closer look at one of those frameworks, the Teachers’ Palette, that offers an overview of aspects of a learning friendly culture which combine to create the metacognitive classroom. Yes that's right. With all the recent flurry of research about the magnificent effects of metacognition, we thought we ...
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What’s Building Learning Power all about… really?

Education seems to make the headlines most days. Teacher shortages in both recruitment and retention, diminishing school budgets, stressed students, subjects dropping out of the curriculum. It can feel desolate. The bright spark that seems to soldier on is educational research which continues to bring more ideas to make classroom practice more successful. Amidst all this change it's sometimes easy to lose sight of what Learning Power is all about, why it's so important in ...
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Preparing The Canvas

This week’s blog is a little different as it comes direct from Oakfield Primary Academy in Dartford Kent. The school has been thinking about building pupils’ learning power for a while now and recently started using the Building Learning Power online courses to deepen their approach. As we give time for the changes in classroom practice to take shape, we invited the school to write about preparatory changes they have put in place over the ...
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In praise of the futures-driven curriculums in Scotland and Wales

I have spent much of the past few weeks considering the issues that have faced Scottish schools for over a decade as a result of the Donaldson Report. This report spawned their Curriculum for Excellence which is built around four key purposes, sometimes referred to as key capacities. These purposes look to the longer term student-based outcomes of the curriculum; that “all children and every young person should be successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens ...
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Learning-friendly classrooms: Routines

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin. Often on our training days we ask ‘What do good learners do?’ As teachers, we know that good learners can listen attentively for information, engage with the material, stay on task, and so on. So a teacher might quite reasonably respond to that question with ‘We want them to sit quietly and listen in order to hear the instruction for the next learning activity.’ But what do children ...
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Gold standard Learning Power!

We couldn't let the term end without celebrating Wibsey primary school's achievement, that of reaching Gold level of the Learning Quality award. Inspired by the story of Miriam Lord Primary, another Bradford school, Nigel Cooper – Headteacher at Wibsey Primary School – started his staff and pupils on building their learning power just three years ago. In March this year they were assessed against the Learning Quality Framework and were awarded Gold Level accreditation. The ...
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Introducing BLP as a NQT

This week sees another guest blog from Patcham Infant School, this time by recently qualified teacher Lizzie Hilton.Here she shares her discoveries about how to get to grips with Building Learning Power. BLP as an NQT by Lizzie Hilton, Patcham Infant School As a newly qualified teacher (NQT), fresh out of teacher training, I was excited to join Patcham Infant School in the early stages of the school’s Building Learning Power (BLP) journey in September ...
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Progression in the Language for Learning

This week's guest blog comes from Chris Taylor, headteacher at Patcham Infant School near Brighton. "It is inarguable that quantitative data represents an essential aspect of assessing a child’s development; it hopefully measures positive progress which is then often represented in numbers, letters, words or acronyms. However, measuring qualitative information, in my mind, enables us to paint a more useful picture and develop a deeper understanding of the child, which then provides a narrative to ...
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Translating espoused values into a policy for Learning. Part 1

The other day I had a quick look at a school’s Learning and Teaching policy. It was written in a style that gives you a warm glow, you just know that the writer has a genuine feel for the subject. But as a piece of writing to capture the school’s beliefs, values and subsequent practice of learning it left me very confused. Had I been a young teacher thinking of applying for a job in ...
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Goldilocks stretch

My two children go to a lovely infant school that is keen on learning. Each child at the school has a Learning Journey book which display their work, interesting comments they have made about what they are doing, comments from the teachers, next steps for their learning, and so on. They are a wonderful record of the children's progress. The school also uses the wide-spread 'traffic light' sticker system in these Learning Journey books, which ...
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Learning to be Robots?

Two things caught my eye this week – did you see them too? The first was an ad in the TES from a school in London that is seeking a Detention Director. Do you, the ad begins, like order and discipline? Believe in children being obedient every time? When I last looked online, TES was saying that just under 2,000 people had looked at the ad in the previous 24 hours, not all I presume ...
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A visible learning journey: introducing learning characters

Chris Taylor, Head at Patcham Infant School, has written another insightful piece for us. This week he explores the introduction of learning power heroes to his pupils. How do you help infant children develop the notion of learning muscles and become better learners? Patcham Infant School and Nursery Class is not unlike many other schools in that we have introduced learning characters to aid the children’s understanding of how we can learn better and develop ...
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