Sedgefield Primary School

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Building Learning Power

Building Learning Power is an approach to learning to learn.

We want the children at Sedgefield Primary to believe that they can continually develop their capacity to learn throughout their lives. We are all learners every day of our lives, it’s just that sometimes in our busy schedules we can lose sight of this wonderful capacity, worse still we can take it for granted and then assume that our children will just "pick it up"!

Research, however, suggests that there are several dispositions that we need to develop in order to become successful lifelong learners.

Resilience  <><><>  Resourcefulness  <><><>  Reflectiveness  <><><>  Reciprocity
…THE 4 R’s 

These dispositions are inherent in us all. They are not fixed at birth, or when we leave school; they can be developed by everyone regardless of “ability”, social background or age. In fact,       ...there are NO limits to extending our learning power!

We can think of these dispositions as being like groups of "learning muscles". Just as we can build our physical muscles with the right kinds of exercise, so we can exercise our learning muscles to develop their strength and stamina. Each of these dispositions is made up of a number of learning behaviours, which are called capacities. Because the learning capacities are quite specific in nature, they can be individually trained, nurtured and exercised.

being ready, willing and able to

being ready, willing and able to

Absorption:  we become engrossed in what we are doing; we are unaware of time passing
Managing Distraction: we know what distracts us, we try to minimise distractions, we settle back quickly after an interruption
Noticing: we notice how things look, what they are made of, or how they behave, we can identify significant detail
Perseverance: we are not put off by being stuck, we keep on going despite difficulties and find ways to overcome them, we recognise that learning can be a struggle.

Resilient Rhino designed by Elizabeth Haley

Resilient Rhino teaches us Resilience, so we are learning to persevere; even if our work is difficult we do not give up! We learn it is OK to get things wrong; we take risks and we manage all of the distractions around us. 

Questioning: you are curious about things and people, you often wonder why, you play with ideas, asking "How come?" and "What if?"
Making Links: you look for connections between experiences or ideas, you find pleasure in seeing how things fit together, you make patterns
Imagining: you picture how things might look, sound, feel, be; you let your mind explore and play with possibilities and ideas
Reasoning: you create logical arguments, you deduce what might happen, you look for evidence.

Busy Beaver designed by Lucas Little

Busy Beaver teaches us Resourcefulness, so we are learning that lots of things in our classroom can help us (classroom displays, dictionary, etc.).  We learn to be more independent and think for ourselves, rather than relying on the teacher all of the time to help us.  We also question things, imagine and make links in our learning.

being ready, willing and able to become
being ready, willing and able to

Planning: we think about what we want to get out of learning, we plan the steps we might take, we access the resources we may need
Revising: we are ready to revise our plans as we go along, monitor how things are going, change our plans when we've had a better idea
Distilling:  we mull over experiences, draw out useful lessons from experiences, think about where else we might use these lessons
Meta-Learning: we are interested in how we learn as an individual, know our strengths and weaknesses as a learner, are interested in becoming a better learner.

Tortoise designed by Charlie Bowman 

Tortoise teaches us Reflectiveness, so we learn how to slow down and think about our work. We redraft our writing and check it all makes sense.  We self assess our work and we talk about how we could make it better.

Interdependence: we know how much interaction we need with others to assist our learning, we make informed choices about working on our own or with others

Collaboration:  we manage our feelings when working with others, we understand the ground rules of team work, we are able to work effectively as part of a pair or team
Empathy and Listening: we put ourselves in other people's shoes to see the world from their point of view, show we are listening by eye contact and body language, hear feelings and thoughts behind someone's words
Imitation:  we are ready to learn from others, notice the approach and detail of how others do things.

Team Ant designed by Abbie Coulson

Team Ant teaches us Reciprocity.  That sometimes means working alone, but sometimes means collaborating with others.  We know we can learn from each other.