Building Learning Power (BLP)

An Introduction to ‘Building Learning Power’
A Guide for Parents

‘Helping young people become better learners’

‘Term on term, year on year, a BLP school breeds young people who are more curious, more willing to take a risk and give it a go, more imaginative, more creative, more thoughtful, more ready, willing and able to learn with and through others. It’s developing this adventurous spirit that counts’. Professor Guy Claxton, originator of BLP

This academic year, as part of our School Development Plan, we will be introducing Building Learning Power and embedding it in to everything we do. We have put together the following information as a guide so that you can support and use the language of BLP at home.

What is Learning Power?

Building Learning Power (BLP) is an approach to learning that we have begun to implement at Nelson Primary School. This approach was created by Professor Guy Claxton. It is based on the idea that we are all capable of becoming better learners. BLP applies this idea directly to the work of teachers in the classrooms, to provide a practical framework for fostering lifelong learning in all young people.

At Nelson Primary School we are striving to be the best we can be, recognising that we all have different strengths and interests. BLP allows us to do this and build the children’s learning power through a variety of strategies and techniques.

Key Principles

  • It is a learning culture that encourages children and teachers to become better learners
  • It allows children to approach difficulties in learning without fear of failure
  • It allows the children to take small steps within learning
  • It develops confidence
  • It is not additional to teaching but should be grounded within everyday teaching and learning
  • It gives clear labels for the children to use to develop understanding of learning processes.

Why are we Building Learning Power?

We believe that BLP allows us to develop a common language for learning across the school. The language is used in all classrooms, with all children. This helps everyone talk about understanding learning to learn. We hope that this understanding will begin to spill over into life outside school, where you will be able to reinforce the ideas by encouraging the children to use their learning language in their everyday lives.

The idea is that the four dispositions (4 Rs) are like a group of “learning muscles”. Just as we can build our physical muscles with the right kind of exercise, learning muscles can also be developed and can grow in strength and stamina. It is these we are aiming to develop through this independent learning power in the children.

What does BLP look like?

Professor Claxton suggests there are four main learning dispositions:

-Resilience- not giving up,

-Resourcefulness- –being able to use a range of learning strategies and knowing what to do when you get stuck,

-Reflectiveness- being able to think about yourself as a learner and how you might be able to do this better,

-Reciprocity- –being able to learn with and from others, as well as on your own.

These dispositions are then split into seventeen learning ‘muscles’ that the children are encouraged to ‘stretch’ within their everyday lessons and activities and apply to different aspects of their learning.

We will be talking about these learning muscles in assemblies and class during the year. We will be sharing information about each area in the newsletter as we cover them so keep a look out for more information!

How can you help at home?