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Building Learning Power

A Guide for Parents

At Thythorn Field Primary School we believe that we need to do more than just teach our children facts or chunks of knowledge. We need to give them the skills to become lifelong learners so they can face challenges both in and out of school and not just as children but as adults as well. We teach them how to learn.

Building Learning Power

‘Term on term, year on year, a ‘Building Learning Power School breeds young people who are more curious, more willing to take a risk and give it a go, more imaginative, more creative, more thoughtful, more ready, willing and able to learn with and through others. It’s developing this adventurous spirit that counts’.

Professor Guy Claxton, originator of BLP

What is Learning Power?

Building Learning Power (BLP) is an approach to learning that we have begun to implement at Thythorn Field Primary School. This approach was created by Professor Guy Claxton. It is based on the idea that we are all capable of becoming better learners. BLP applies this idea directly to the work of teachers in the classrooms, to provide a practical framework for fostering lifelong learning in all young people. At Thythorn Field, our school ethos is one of striving to be the best we can be, recognising that we all have different strengths and interests. BLP allows us to nurture this ethos and build the children’s learning power through a variety of strategies and techniques.

Why are we Building Learning Power?

We believe that BLP allows 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.

There are 4 key learning dispositions – resilience, resourcefulness, reflectiveness and reciprocity. We all have these dispositions within us and they can be developed by everyone regardless of ability, age or social background. These dispositions can be thought of as learning powers which can be developed with the right exercises. BLP has given us a common language to talk about learning and help us to make explicit the behaviours and skills we need to enable us to learn.

Each of these learning powers is made up of a number of learning behaviours (learning muscles).
Resilience is made up of absorption, managing distractions, noticing and perseverance.
Resourcefulness is made up of questioning, making links, imagining, reasoning and capitalising.
Reflectiveness is made up of planning, revising, distilling and Meta –learning.
Reciprocity is made up of interdependence, collaboration, empathy and listening and imitation.
To help the children remember the 4Rs of learning we have linked each learning power with a character who will help us train our learning muscles.

In each classroom we have a BLP display which encourages children to use the language of learning. This also helps them to identify when they or a friend has used one of their learning muscles. Teachers are weaving the BLP language into each lesson so children are taught the skills of learning as well as the content of the national curriculum.

Each week in assembly we celebrate a learner of the week. This is a pupil who has been identified as using one of the learning powers that week.

Teachers, teaching assistants, pupils and parents can complete a WOW slip to share when they have observed a child using one of the learning powers or learning muscles. These are available from the school foyer and on our website. They can be handed to a member of staff or put in a box in the foyer. We have produced booklets to provide parents with more information and ways of helping your child with BLP at home and these will be sent home as we introduce each learning power.

How can you help at home?

Draw attention to, and model, positive learning habits.

Look out for the leaflets coming home. Encourage the use of the language of learning and the growth of the learning muscles and let us know via a WOW Slip if you notice your child applying one of them.

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