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Topic Progress:


A1. What is the overall purpose and shape of the suite of the eleven Nutshell Phase 1 units?

Once a school has established a commitment to developing students’ learning habits, there is a pressing need to get going, maintain momentum and generate further ideas and enthusiasm.

These online resources answer that need.

The on-line material is designed to;

  • help teachers explore issues of the what and why of changing their practice and offer practical ideas to try in their classrooms
  • enable lead teachers to run teacher learning community sessions where staff plan and share their classroom experiments.

The programme kicks off with a key unit about learning friendly cultures. A Culture for Building Powerful Learner ‘ looks at what a learning friendly culture looks, feels and sounds like and how to achieve such a culture. – we recommend that schools start with this module;

There are then:

  • 3 units that relate to shifting classroom cultures to learning friendly
  • 5 units relating to the key learning behaviour of Perseverance and how classrooms need to be if we want perseverance to grow. The content is closely related to what might be described as growth mindset behaviours

The Nutshells Phase 1 programme winds down with an essential unit about reviewing progress, that of teachers’ practice and that of students’ learning behaviours.

Using these materials across all school teams will;

  • develop team understanding of classroom cultures, learning habits and behaviours and, importantly, how they should develop over time
  • establish team enthusiasm for refreshing student motivation and learning behaviours
  • build expertise through guided sessions that stimulate teachers to use the materials and generate their own ideas.
  • secure a common classroom culture for learning across the school

A2. How do we decide where to start in using the Nutshells Phase 1 units?


Begin by looking at the Culture unit. ( A culture to build powerful learners) This unit raises the issue of learning friendly classroom cultures which every teacher and department needs to be familiar with. Only if everyone is encouraged to consider this unit can the school work confidently towards a consistent learning friendly culture across the school. This unit also contains a tool ( Culture Tool 1) which will have an influence on which units should be tackled next.


Consider the three units:

  • Building Active Participation
  • Building Dialogue and Collaboration
  • Building Shared Responsibility

These three units can be tackled in any order, and each team might want to tackle them in a different order. However, we suggest that teams work first with the one that is deemed to be needed most. Hints in this direction will have come from considering Culture tools 1 & 2  in the culture unit. Please complete all three before . . 


Work through the information unit

  • Building progression in Perseverance

for a full and rounded picture of this key learning behaving in action

This unit is very short and could be combined with one of the following;

  • Engage students in unsticking their learning
  • Engage students in rising to challenge
  • Engage students in managing distractions
  • Engage students in achieving goals

These can be tackled by the team in any order before . . .


Spend time on the critical last unit in Nutshells Phase 1

  •  ‘Reviewing our Progress’ unit.

Before continuing into Phase 2 it will be important to consider whether what you are doing is making a difference to the classroom cultures, to teachers’ practice and to the students themselves.


You can expect these units to take at least an academic year to fully engage with and derive the benefits of shifting classroom cultures and student expectations. Each unit could take a half term to work through and implement.


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