I am on a lifelong journey to learn about learning...
And to develop approaches that inspire students and equip them to thrive in a constantly changing world. Learning Powered Approaches, such as Building Learning Power, teach children not just curriculum content, but how to develop skills as a learner, that are transferable and essential to learning in all contexts in and out of school, such as perseverance, collaboration, listening and empathy.
Teaching in this way involves creativity, the involvement of students in their learning process and constant reflection and adaptation (by students and teachers, together on a learning journey). This, I believe, should be the core of the future of learning and our pathway to building a more peaceful, intelligent, thoughtful, innovating and caring world (which is what education is surely about?!)
What excites me about teaching through the LPA, though, is the reaction from the students - the levels of independence they develop (I often feel like I could leave the classroom and the learning would keep on happening), the love of learning the children develop (they regularly bounce through the door, big smiles on their faces, exclaiming, "what are we going to learn today?!"). Also the sometimes surprising asuteness of the children (I teach 5-7 year-olds), who can explain and reflect on their learning process in great detail:
"It sounds like learning in here!"
"I'd prefer to collaborate today because I need to share ideas with a friend."
"I noticed everyone was really absorbed in their learning today because the classroom was so quiet."
Over the year with each class, I see children's self-esteem grow, new unexpected friendships develop (because they are always finding new learning partners) and a true buzz and joy of learning develop in the children.
One aspect of the LPA is to develop a language of learning with the children, such as developing thinking routines like "what if ..." I find myself thinking "what if ..."a lot.
- What if every school developed learning to learn approaches with their staff and students?
- What if governments and Ofsted judged schools on their ability to experiment, risk-take and create independent learners? Or if schools were measured on group learning or levels of independence?
- What if happiness, deep engagement and mental well-being became central to educational culture?
- What if every child cultivated empathy and compassion in the way the LPA encourages?
- What if students became truly invested in their learning rather than being merely compliant?
- What if...
This website is my small contribution to developing education. It's a gathering of ideas I have used successfully in my classroom which might work as a good starter for teachers who want to develop their practice in Learning Power. The beauty of the Learning Powered Approach is that you can invent your own ideas that work in the context of your learning environment. This is only the story so far and I'm always on the lookout for new ideas and inspiration ...
Thank you to Christ Church Infants, St Bernard's and Sandringham schools who have given me permission to use examples from their learning.