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Building Better Learners: On-line start

Who for? Schools new to Learning Power where face to face start-ups are not possible, e.g. schools overseas, or tiny schools.
When? Any day of the year! (no In-service day required)
What for? Introduce senior leaders and staff to the principles, frameworks and first step classroom practices of building powerful learners. An essential introduction to the big picture of the approach enabling staff and leaders alike to hit the ground running when they begin the subsequent online Stepping Stones programme.
How? 
Online resource pack: 
Modules for senior leaders to consider strategic change management involved, as well as modules for all staff explaining the frameworks and practice of learning power.
AND…Online programme: 
Stepping Stones Phase 1 for all staff, containing a good year’s worth of content.

Benefits of this blended learning programme for the school

Our core programmes are guided by best practice thinking in professional development.  This means we blend online information with in-school learning teams. Our researched information comes to you online. You  discuss and explore it in learning teams across the school. Teachers then plan, use and share the changes they want to make in their classrooms. This way of learning together organises a consistent school-wide approach to developing pupils’ learning behaviours and:

  • Shifts the culture of the school to becoming more learning-friendly
  • Focuses learning teams on a gradual change process
  • Builds expertise right across the school
  • Ensures the school STARTS and STAYS on a proven right track
  • Ensures you build better learners RIGHT not LITE
  • Organises professional development activities throughout a year
  • Scaffolds in-house training, saving cover costs for external courses
  • Has a far greater impact on classroom practice than traditional staff development activity.

The blended programme includes

Introducing Building Learning Power: a DIY resource pack

This online Resource Pack introduces school leaders and staff to the why, what, and how of developing learning power in school, without the need for a consultancy day. It offers the big picture frameworks, principles of the approach, and practical examples of classroom activities. It acts as a primer for the Stepping Stones online  programmes, using a range of resources including presentation slides, informative papers, and short online units. The organisation of the  resources aims to ensure that Learning Power flourishes in the long term, by paying attention to three layers of practice and giving particular emphasis to managing and supporting change.

The Resource Pack has three sections:

  1. Strategic: the essence of the big strategic issues
  2. Chalkface: the implications for classroom practice
  3. Management: the implications for managing this to happen

Each of the sections deals with four topics of Building Learning Power:

  • Topic A – Learning Power, the What and Why: The need for change and the sort of changes needed.This section covers the level of detail that will be vital for senior leaders and school governors.
  • Topic B – The supple learning mind: The framework of learning behaviours of successful learners. It offers an overview of the habits of better learners,  the implications for classroom practice, and the essential features of managing the approach.
  • Topic C – Learning-friendly cultures: The classroom culture that best supports the development of learning habits. It briefly unpacks the idea of a learning-friendly culture and how classrooms can better nurture powerful learners by devolving more responsibility for learning to students, starting a language for learning, and flipping the culture to valuing mistakes and being stuck.
  • Topic D – Growing learning habits: How learning behaviours strengthen into habits through learning powered teaching. It considers how everyday learning habits might progress to become learning behaviours, and the implications of such growth for classroom practice. It also offers ways in which  managers might capture this progression to improve practice.  

 

Section 1 – Strategic: The strategic issues, the big ideas

In the Strategic section, for each of the four topics, you will find the big strategic issues, the principles and models, the must dos and the ‘be good ifs’ of Building Learning Power. boiled down to their essence. The aim is to help senior leaders get to grips quickly with the main ideas and how to make them work.

Four Strategic presentations cover the What and the Why; the supple learning mind; learning-friendly cultures; growing learning habits.

There are links to further information to deepen or extend the key issues raised in the slides. These are offered to satisfy your critical curiosity, not as ‘must read’ items. Here there may be:

  • a link to an appropriate blog
  • a link to specific deeper information in our extensive bank of resources
  • a link to a page / chapter / idea in one of our BLP books
  • suggestions for further reading elsewhere

 

Section 2 – Chalkface: The implications for classroom practice

In the Chalkface section, for each of the four topics, you will find the implications of the strategic issues unpacked for classroom practitioners; the how to’s. 

Four Chalkface presentations cover the What and the Why; the supple learning mind; learning-friendly cultures; growing learning habits

For some of the topics we offer materials to download for use with the slides, e.g. a resource booklet for a training day that you can deliver for your school.

For some topics we offer links to short online units that serve to enhance the information covered in the slides. Staff can view and reflect on these at their own pace, in their own time.

  • Online unit about the supple learning mind
  • Online unit exploring classroom culture

Links to further information deepen or extend key issues. These are offered to satisfy critical curiosity, not as ‘must do’ items.

 

Section 3 – Management: The implications for managing change

Here we look at the management implications of supporting the strategic and classroom practice issues raised above. Without strong and sustained management support the development of learning powered learners is unlikely to take hold.

Four Management presentations cover the What and the Why; the supple learning mind; learning-friendly cultures; growing learning habits.These slide decks could be used to: structure learning conversations with and for managers; inform managers of what has worked elsewhere; act as a checklist of what needs ongoing attention. Each slide has brief explanatory notes.

Data-gathering materials. Monitoring the developments across the school is a key management task in successfully developing learning power. To this end we offer useful, downloadable questionnaires and other review materials for the first year of the journey.

 Links to further relevant information, offered as curiosity quenchers not as the answers to everything. Here there may be:

  • a link to an appropriate blog
  • a link to an online unit to do with managing the development of learning power
  • a link to specific information from our extensive banks of resources
  • suggestions for further reading

 

Through these three sections you should find enough carefully curated material to give your school an excellent chance of making learning power work well, and come alive in your students.

 

Online Programme – Stepping Stones, Phase 1 

The course covers four key Learning Habits:

pererverance blobby man

Perseverance

Perseverance is key to the learning journey. It is vital that pupils are able to get to grips with the knotty emotions of learning, and can view and use them positively as aids to the journey, not as obstacles.

collaboration blobby man

Collaboration

At its least sophisticated, collaboration is little more than being cooperative. At its most sophisticated and complex levels it goes beyond learning ‘in a team’ and becomes learning ‘as a team’. It is an invaluable life skill.

questioning blobby man

Questioning

The desire to ask questions to satisfy innate curiosity is alive and well in very young children, as any parent of a 3-year old will readily confirm! Explore how we can ensure that questioning remains alive and builds into a full blown inclination to explore and learn about the world.

Revising_Graphic

Revising

Pupils need to learn how to deal with change, emotionally and practically. With an inflexible frame of mind they are unlikely to recognise the need to change their ideas or the way they do something. They also need to know what ‘good’ looks like; how to keep an eye on how things are going; and how to evaluate how things went against external standards.

How the online programme works

The Stepping Stones Phase 1 programme consists of nine full online units, each expected to take about a month to implement in classrooms, and one shorter introductory unit. Each full unit is divided into four sections:

Three individual teacher sections
Teachers work their way through the materials at a time and place to suit them. Each session will usually take about 30–45 minutes to work through and think about. The materials introduce new thinking and practical ideas for staff to get their heads around prior to their team session.

A Professional Learning Team meeting section
This brings staff together as a learning team at monthly intervals (typically six to eight staff per team), convened and led by a learning champion from your school. Staff share and discuss how they have moved their practice to incorporate learning behaviours, consider new material introduced in the individual online learning sessions, and plan their learning enquiries to be implemented in the next month. Each team session is planned to last about an hour.

The online units are:

a) A Culture for building Powerful Learners

Best used first, this unit is designed to guide you through a process of understanding, assessing and improving your classroom learning culture: making it more learning-friendly in order to build your students’ learning power. 

  1. Learning cultures. A big shift? Unpick the meaning of classroom cultures, what they might consist of and the big shifts that may be needed to develop better learning. Use the culture tool to estimate where your classroom culture is now.
  2. Learning friendly cultures; Lots of little shifts. Find out about the four big dimensions of culture and use the culture tool 2 to estimate the sorts of shifts your classroom culture would benefit from.
  3. Your classroom culture. Some ideas to get you started. Look for ideas to strengthen your learner/learning classroom culture.
  4. Team reflection and planning. Share the results of your culture analysis with colleagues. Make plans for what everyone needs to do and what you will each do individually.

 

b1) Progress in Perseverancepererverance blobby man

This mini-unit is an information unit; it does not suggest practical ideas for improvement. As such it should be coupled with one of the four perseverance units below.

Perseverance is key to the learning journey. It is vital that pupils are able to get to grips with the knotty emotions of learning, and can view and use them positively as aids to the journey, not as obstacles.

The unit aims to help teachers to:

  • explore the components of the big picture of perseverance, how it’s made up
  • analyse where their students currently function in relation to progress in perseverance
  • look briefly at their own practice in developing a perseverance-friendly culture

 

The next four units delve deeper into Perseverance, aiming at growing pupils’ positive attitudes to learning.

 

b2) Engage students in unsticking their learning

This unit aims to:

  • help teachers to analyse how  their students behave and feel about being stuck
  • help teachers to look at their own classroom practice in developing a ‘stuck’-friendly culture
  • suggest practical strategies to increase students’ skill and confidence in dealing with being stuck
  • assist teachers in adapting their practice, using a learning enquiry method (team reflection and planning)

 

b3) Engage students in rising to Challenge

This unit aims to:

  • help teachers to analyse how their students feel and behave when faced with challenge
  • help teachers to look at their own classroom practice in developing a learning-challenge-friendly culture
  • suggest practical strategies to increase students’ skill and confidence in dealing with challenge
  •  assist teachers in adapting their practice, using a learning enquiry method (team reflection and planning)

 

b4) Engage students in Managing Distractions

This unit aims to:

  • help teachers to analyse their students’ awareness of being distracted and strategies for dealing with distraction
  • help teachers to look at their own practice in developing a learning culture that helps students to maintain focus
  • suggest practical strategies to increase students’ skill and confidence in dealing with internal and external distractions
  • assist teachers in adapting their practice, using a learning enquiry method (team reflection and planning)

 

b5) Engage students in achieving Goals

This unit aims to:

  • help teachers to analyse how their students think and feel about pursuing goals
  • help teachers to look at their own classroom practice in developing a goal-friendly culture
  • suggest practical strategies to increase students’ skill and confidence in pursuing goals
  • assist teachers in adapting their practice, using a learning enquiry method (team reflection and planning)

 

The next three units explore how to build on and grow the key learning behaviours.

 

c) Putting Collaboration into Learning

At its least sophisticated, collaboration is little more than being cooperative. At its most sophisticated and complex level it goes beyond learning ‘in a team’ and becomes learning ‘as a team’. It is an invaluable life skill.

This unit is designed to guide you through a process of building the habit of Collaboration in your pupils. Sections 1–4 consider:

  1. Collaboration and how it develops. Unpick the meaning of Collaboration, how it develops over time, and use the Collaboration chart to plot where your pupils are now.
  2. Taking Collaboration into classroom culture. This section offers numerous suggestions for developing a Collaboration-friendly culture and building pupils’ Collaboration skills. Here you will find ideas for lesson starters / quick wins; classroom activities; learning reflection tools; ideas for appropriate learning language for each stage of progression in Collaboration. You are likely to browse in this section for up to 30 minutes in preparation for the team meeting.
  3. Blending learning habits with content. Example dual-focused lesson. This section suggests a series of questions and steps you might use to incorporate the development of learning habits into the design of lessons and activities. Here we look closely at how to blend improving pupils’ learning habits with the content you have to teach. The section covers: The six principles behind any learning powered session; Big questions to ask about lesson design; Lesson planning in action; an exemplar Collaboration-focused task.
  4. Team reflection and planning. Share the impact of your experiments with colleagues and plan what you need to do next.

 

d) Putting Questioning into Learning

The desire to ask questions to satisfy innate curiosity is alive and well in very young children, as any parent of a 3-year old will readily confirm! Explore how we can ensure that questioning remains alive and builds into a full-blown inclination to explore and learn about the world.

This unit is designed to guide you through a process of building the habit of Questioning in your pupils. Sections 1–4 consider:

  1. Questioning and how it develops. Unpick the meaning of Questioning, how it develops over time, and use the Questioning chart to plot where your pupils are now.
  2. Taking Questioning into classroom culture. This section offers numerous suggestions for developing a Questioning-friendly culture and building pupils’ Questioning skills. Here you will find ideas for lesson starters / quick wins; classroom activities; learning reflection tools; ideas for appropriate learning language for each stage of progression in Questioning. You are likely to browse in this section for up to 30 minutes in preparation for the team meeting.
  3. Blending learning habits with content. Example dual-focused lesson. This section suggests a series of questions and steps you might use to incorporate the development of learning habits into the design of lessons and activities. Here we look closely at how to blend improving pupils’ learning habits with the content you have to teach. The section covers: The six principles behind any learning powered session; Big questions to ask about lesson design; Lesson planning in action; an exemplar Questioning-focused task.
  4. Team reflection and planning.  Share the impact of your experiments with colleagues and plan what you need to do next.

 

e) Putting Revising into Learning

Pupils need to learn how to deal with change, emotionally and practically. With an inflexible frame of mind they are unlikely to recognise the need to change their ideas or the way they do something. They also need to know what ‘good’ looks like; how to keep an eye on how things are going; and how to evaluate how things went against external standards.

This unit is designed to guide you through a process of building the habit of Revising in your students. Sections 1–4 consider:

  1. Revising and how it develops. Unpick the Revising chart and plot where your pupils are now.
  2. Taking Revising into classroom culture. This section offers numerous suggestions for developing a Revising-friendly culture and building pupils’ Revising skills. Here you will find ideas for lesson starters / quick wins; classroom activities; learning reflection tools; ideas for appropriate learning language for each stage of progression in Revising. You are likely to browse in this section for up to 30 minutes in preparation for the team meeting.
  3. Blending learning habits with content. Example dual-focused lesson. This section suggests a series of questions and steps you might use to incorporate the development of learning habits into the design of lessons and activities. Here we look closely at how to blend improving pupils’ learning habits with the content you have to teach. The section covers: The six principles behind any learning powered session; Big questions to ask about lesson design; Lesson planning in action; an exemplar Revising-focused task.
  4. Team reflection and planning. Share the impact of your experiments with colleagues and plan what you need to do next.

 

The final unit in Phase 1 is designed to enable you to review your progress so far.

 

f) Reviewing our progress

A rich variety of tools help you review your progress in developing a learning culture in your classrooms. This review will provide you with relevant information on which to base your approach in the next phase of building pupils’ learning powers. Sections 1–4 consider:

  1. Reflecting on your changing practice. Looking at what you have done and how your classroom has changed. This section answers the question “How far have you come?”
  2. Giving pupils a voice. Finding out how your pupils have benefited. This section answers the question “How well have pupils taken to this way of learning?”
  3. Learning with and from colleagues. Learning from learning walks and observations. This section answers the question “What are the variations on the theme and what can I learn from these variations?”
  4. Team session: Learning together. Putting your heads together and thinking “what next?” This team session answers the questions “How are we doing, how are our pupils doing and where do we need to go next?”
Preview the online course

Book bundle

3 copies of Building Learning Power

5 copies of Learning Power Heroes

5 copies of Building 101 Ways to Learning Power

5 copies of Building Learning Power in Action

3 copies of The Learning Powered School

4 sets of 5 BLP Posters for classrooms

Other options for the Building Better Learners programme

For Schools new to Learning Power Building Better Learners: Training day start is an option; it does require an INSET day at the start. 

For schools new to Learning Power, Building Better Learners: Consultancy review start is also available with in-school training which does not require an INSET day 

If your school has already started its own journey with Learning Power, Building Better Learners: Reviving practice start will be right for you.