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Learning Powers

An introduction to Building Learning Power (BLP)

At Tannery Drift First School we believe that learning should be a life-long enterprise. We aim to develop our pupils Learning Power, not just so they can complete school learning more easily and effectively, but so they will leave school with the ‘disposition’ (a set of habits and attitudes) which will serve them well as they boldly go through the journey of life.

What is BLP all about?

BLP is about learning how to be a better learner. It is about the individual learner, their personal ‘disposition’ towards learning. The BLP ‘capacities’ are a set of ‘learning powers’ that need to be exercised so that they grow strong. This is something that can be learnt, practised and improved.

  • It is a learning culture that encourages children and teachers to become better learners
  • It allows children to approach difficulties in learning without fear of failure
  • It allows the children to take small steps within learning
  • It develops confidence
  • It is not additional to teaching, but should be grounded within everyday teaching and learning
  • It gives clear labels for the children to use to develop understanding of learning processes.

Why are we Building Learning Power?

We believe that BLP is beginning to allow us to develop a common language for learning across the school. The language is used in all classrooms, with all children. This helps everyone talk about understanding learning to learn. We hope that this understanding will begin to spill over into life outside school, where you will be able to reinforce the ideas by encouraging the children to use their learning language in their everyday lives.

The idea is that the four dispositions are like a group of “learning heroes”. Just like real heroes that help us in certain situations, learning heroes can also be developed in ourselves and can grow in strength and stamina. It is these we are aiming to develop in the children.

What does BLP look like?

You may have heard your children already using some of the language that has been introduced in school. There are four main learning dispositions:

Raj Reflectiveness

Being able to think about yourself as a learner and how you might be able to do this better.

Ruby Resourcefulness

Being able to use a range of learning strategies and knowing what to do when you get stuck.

Polly Perseverance

Being able to keep trying in the face of difficulties.

Colin Cooperation

Being able to learn with and from others.

These dispositions are encouraged within their everyday lessons and activities and apply to all aspects of their learning.

Raj Reflectiveness
  • Planning
    • Thinking about where you are going, the action you are going to take, the time and resources you will need and the obstacles you may encounter.
  • Revising
    • Being flexible, changing your plans in the light of different circumstances, monitoring and reviewing how things are going and seeing new opportunities.
  • Distilling
    • Drawing out the lesson from experience, reflecting on the learning and being your own coach.
  • Meta Learning
    • Knowing yourself as a learner – how you learn best; how to talk about the learning process.
Ruby Resourcefulness
  • Questioning
    • Asking questions of yourself and others.
    • Being curious and playful with ideas, delving beneath the surface of things.
  • Making Links
    • Seeing connections between events and experiences.
    • Building patterns:- weaving a web of understanding.
  • Imagining
    • Using your imagination and intuition to put yourself through new experiences or to explore possibilities.
    • Wondering ‘what if . . . ?’
  • Reasoning
    • Calling up your logical and rational skills to work things out methodically and rigorously; constructing good arguments and spotting the flaws on others.
  • Capitalising
    • Drawing on the full range of resources from the wider world – other people, books, the Internet, past experience, future opportunities.
Polly Perseverance
  • Trying
    • Keeping going in the face of difficulties.
    • Channelling the energy of frustration productively.
    • Knowing that learning can be a slow and uncertain process.
  • Managing Distractions
    • Recognising and reducing distractions; knowing when to walk away and refresh yourself.
    • Creating your own best environment for learning.
  • Absorption
    • Being able to lose yourself in learning and becoming absorbed in what you are doing.
  • Noticing
    • Perceiving subtle nuances, patterns and details in experience.
    • The point at which we become stuck, is the point at which we start learning!
Colin Cooperation
  • Collaboration
    • Knowing how to manage yourself in the give and take of a collaborative venture, respecting and
      recognising other viewpoints; adding to and drawing from the strength of teams.
  • Imitation
    • Constructively adopting methods, habits or values from other people whom you observe.
  • Empathy and Listening
    • Contributing to others’ experiences by listening to them to understand what they are really saying
      and putting yourself in their shoes.
  • Interdependence
    • Knowing when it’s appropriate to learn on your own or with others, and being able to stand your
      ground in a debate.

How you can help at home?

  • Ask your children about the learning powers they have been using at school.
  • Use the language of learning when undertaking tasks at home.
  • If your child becomes stuck in their learning ask them to think of what they would have to do at school to get 'unstuck'.
  • Welcome and foster your child’s questioning spirit as much as you can.
  • Involve them in your own learning activities. Try to 'think aloud' as you try a new recipe or struggle with a bit of DIY. It helps children grow if they see that you too can struggle with uncertainties and cope with them.