Super Learning Powers

At St. Julian’s Primary School, we believe that learning shouldn’t just take place in the classroom or when there’s a teacher present. We want to create life-long, ambitious, capable learners who know how to independently take control of their own learning and more importantly have the skills to be able to do this. Pupils who are more confident of their own learning ability learn faster and learn better. They concentrate more, think harder and find learning more enjoyable.

Based on a combination of Guy Claxton’s ‘Building Learning Power’ initiative and Carol Dweck’s ‘Growth Mindset’ research, we have developed our own approach to helping young people to become better learners, both in school and out.

We have assigned the four dispositions of an effective learner (from Guy Claxton’s BLP) to superheroes…

Professor Resilience

Keeping going is a key part of learning. We encourage the children not to give up, but to keep trying and working hard at their learning! It can be tempting to just give up when things become hard or when we become ‘stuck’, but actually that’s when learning begins. We teach children that being ‘stuck’ or finding things difficult is a good thing and how to be resilient to overcome problems.

Managing distractions is important for children, as this means they can remain focused on their learning. The better the children are at avoiding distractions, the more they are able to take on board.

Knowing that the brain works like a muscle is important. This helps children to realise the more they ‘work it out’, the ‘stronger’ it gets. By learning, the brain develops and the more children concentrate on their learning, the better their brain becomes at it!

Watch a great video about this on the Class Dojo website

“I can’t do this!” is a phrase which we are aiming to discourage. Children should see things which are difficult as a challenge and appreciate the ‘Power of Yet’. Overcoming challenges is key to learning well…there is great power in the phrase “I can’t do this YET!”.

Doctor Resourceful

In life, teachers wont magically appear when you raise your hand so children need to know how to use things around them to help them solve problems. We use the ‘3 B4 Me’ strategy, which simply means pupils have to try three strategies before asking the teacher for help (3 B4 Me Poster). This helps children to become independent and considering there are usually around 30 pupils to one teacher, is just as important in the classroom as it is outside of the classroom.

We want our children to be inquisitive learners, aiming to ask questions and seek ‘deeper understanding’. As part of this, we teach them about the best way to use questioning techniques and also encourage them to ask questions of their learning.

Much of the learning at school is interrelated. We don’t want children to see learning as sitting in a specific ‘box’, but would rather they see how they can link many of the skills they are developing across a wide range of areas.

Sometimes the solution to a problem isn’t always obvious! Our reasoning skills help us to decide on a good way to solve a problem. The children are encouraged to think carefully and find ways to come to a solution! When they get there, they can use their ‘checking strategies’ to see if their solution is a good one!

Effort is key to all learning! Children need to understand how important it is to apply themselves to all they do. This makes a huge difference to how they learn and is an important part of their ‘Learning Powers‘.

Captain Reflective

This just means ‘Thinking about Learning‘. We encourage the children to think about how they learn and get them to talk about the best ways in which they learn.

Mistakes can be really helpful, as long as we learn from them! We try to create an environment in which it is okay to make mistakes. Often mistakes help us to learn even more than if we just got it right first time!
Mojo, a character in Class Dojo’s ‘Big Ideas’ series explains this really well in this video.

Thinking about what we have learnt is really important. Revising simply means looking back over our learning and reflecting on what we have done, going back to see what we could improve!

Reciprocity Ranger

Working together is essential to building Super Learning Powers. We all have so much to offer each other and so working with others really helps us to improve our learning.

Listening helps us to make the most of our learning. We need to make sure we take in everything so that we can respond in the right way. This involves focusing on our listening skills and how we can improve them.

Often, we gain inspiration from many different places. This could range from noticing someone doing something amazing, to simply using a friend’s ideas to help us. Inspiration can drive us on to even bigger and better things!

“He’s copying me, Miss!” is something which teachers have heard for generations. This isn’t always a bad thing! Often, we can use each other’s ideas to help improve our work or learn new skills by copying someone else demonstrating the skill. Learning from others is a huge part of life at St Julian’s and we all have times when we benefit from using what someone else has done to help drive our own learning forward!

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