So I have just finished my first year summer teaching placement and it has been an invaluable experience; from huge behavioural challenges that have developed my confidence in the classroom to learning new ideas and concepts that the school follows which improve the children's learning.
From my first day it was apparent that in action BLP was a part of every aspect of the classroom through the language of the teachers and the way the children went about learning. In short Guy Claxton's idea of BLP is about helping young people to become better learners, in and out of school. He believes that pupils who are more confident of their learning ability, learn faster and learn better. Then once they have developed this, their confidence, capability and passion can be built up.
The most apparent way that building learning power was used in the
classroom at my placement school was through the teacher's language. When discussing with the class teacher she explained to me that this was a main benefit of BLP as it gave staff a vocabulary to speak to the children in which promoted positive behaviour reinforcement and motivated them to learn more. Examples of this were phrases such as...
"Manage your distractions"
"Brain ache questions"
"I've spotted something..." - children walk out from where they are sitting to come and point something out
The learning tree featured in every classroom
(containing the four R's) - when a child feels they have been a
resourceful learner, for example, they put a picture of their face on
that part of tree.
Other noticeable ways...
Everything the pupils do being
referred to as 'learning' rather than 'work' to come away from all the
negative connotations of 'work'.... eg: home learning
Talk partners and collaboration are used in all lessons
Recognition of perseverance in a child's learning
Extending with 'challenges'
There is also a huge focus on independent learning and for the children to be in control of this. Through this the class feel even bigger positive benefits from their achievements in and outside of the classroom with understanding of the challenges they overcome. At the time before the school got into BLP they were struggling with the problem that they had great teachers but the children weren't learning well enough and when they came across this it appeared to be their solution and they have been using it since.
The whole concept of BLP obviously goes deeper than this but I thought it would be beneficial to blog about what I saw and how it worked in the classroom. The main part I liked was the focussing in on 'learning' and how the enjoyment for that really got the children motivated to challenge themselves. My view on how building learning power works is only from this one perspective though so I'm still very interested to find out why others don't like it, or maybe how it works in other schools, so feel free to comment!