Building Learning Power

Information Sheet for Parents and Carers

At Plympton St Maurice Primary School we believe that learning should be a life-long enterprise. We aim to develop our pupils Learning Power, not just so they can complete school learning more easily and effectively, but so they will leave school with the ‘disposition’ (a set of habits and attitudes) which will serve them well as they boldly go through the journey of life.

What is BLP all about?

BLP is about learning how to be a better learner. It is about the individual learner, their personal ‘disposition’ towards learning. The BLP ‘capacities’ are a set of ‘learning muscles’ that need to be exercised so that they grow strong. This is something that can be learnt, practised and improved.

It is about creating habits and attitudes which enable pupils to face difficulty and uncertainty calmly, confidently and creatively. It is about practical strategies that can be used in real situations. It is not a subject in itself, rather it is a ‘framework’ that sits within and across all lessons.

What are the details of BLP?

BLP is divided into 4 DISPOSITIONS, with each of these sub-divided into CAPACITIES. Each of these focuses on a specific learning attribute / strategy to help the learner to ‘get better at learning’.

How is BLP used in school?

Across lessons and subjects teachers and pupils refer to the dispositions and capacities that are being practiced and that could be useful for the task. Sometimes there will be specific activities relating to a capacity, other times it will be a simple reference. In every classroom there is a display that points to the specific disposition and capacities that are in focus during that term. Teachers and pupils regularly refer to this.

In Assemblies we find opportunities to tease out these learning attributes, as appropriate. Each week, in Achievement Assembly, a pupil from each class is awarded a certificate for either

*Resilience            *Resourcefulness

*Reflectiveness     *Reciprocity

What benefits does BLP give pupils?

  • pupils are more aware of, and are more confident in, their own learning abilities
  • pupils have learning powered strategies to help them cope with difficulties and to face confusion without getting upset
  • pupils learn faster and learn better
  • pupils concentrate more, think harder and find learning more enjoyable.
  • pupils can identify what is worth learning
  • pupils know what they are good (or not so good) at
  • pupils know who can help
  • pupils know how to work independently and socially
  • pupils know what is the best learning tool and learning process for the job at hand

How can parents help at home?

  • Ask your children about their learning muscles they have been using at school
  • Use the language of BLP when undertaking tasks at home: e.g. ‘Well done that was excellent collaboration when you helped me to tidy up the room’
  • Find particular opportunities to develop a capacity: e.g. ‘Planning’ can be developed by sitting with your child and planning the day trip to the beach together
  • Use questions like: ‘How would you solve this?’, ‘What would happen if….?’, ‘What would you do next?’, ‘What skills would you need to use to be able to…?’
  • If your child becomes stuck in their learning ask them to think of what they would have to do at school to get unstuck
  • Welcome and foster your child’s questioning spirit as much as you can
  • Involve them in your own learning activities. Try to “think aloud” as you try a new recipe or struggle with a bit of DIY. It helps children grow if they see that you too struggle with uncertainties but employ a range of strategies to cope with them.

How will BLP grow and develop in school?

Our first steps are to gradually teach the pupils the meanings of each Disposition and their Capacities. One Disposition is focused each term:

From January 2013

Spring Term 3

Resilience – (Knowing how to work through difficulties)

Spring Term 4

Resourcefulness – (Willing to learn indifferent ways using lots of resources)

Summer Term 5

Reflectiveness – (Learning by planning and reflecting on their work)

Summer Term 6

Reciprocity – (Learning alone or with others)