Learning Power and Growth Mindset

Building Learning Power

Learning is for life. In order to be good at it research shows that there are a range of learning skills that every child and adult needs to develop to become a successful lifelong learner.

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At Sir Alexander Fleming Primary School we are concentrating on the 4Rs of learning developed by Guy Claxton:   Resilience is being ready, willing and able to lock onto learning- knowing how to work through difficulties when the pressure mounts or the going gets tough.   Resilience is made up of:

  • Absorption – being able to lose yourself in learning- becoming absorbed in what you are doing.
  • Managing distractions – recognising and reducing distractions; knowing when to walk away and refresh yourself. Creating your own best environment for learning.
  • Noticing – seeing subtle differences, patterns and details in experience.
  • Perseverance – keeping going in the face of difficulties, channeling the energy of frustration productively.

What you can do to help your child become a more resilient learner?

  • Absorption - Help your child to become absorbed in what they are doing by setting aside a space and time for them to do their homework
  • Managing distractions – ensure that your child is able to complete their homework without distractions such as television
  • Noticing – help your child to see patterns, details and differences in their school work and other experiences
  • Perseverance – encourage your child to complete their homework, the activity they start or any other task, rather than giving up when it becomes difficult. This will help them to persevere in their class work.

Resourcefulness is being ready, willing and able to learn in different ways-using resources available to them. These may be resources which they can find in the classroom or it might be their own resources.   Resourcefulness is made up of:

  • Questioning - asking questions of yourself and others. Being curious, wanting to find things out, wanting to know things in more depth.
  • Making links – seeing connections between totally different events and experiences, building patterns and weaving a web of understanding
  • Imagining – Using your imagination and intuition to put yourself through new experiences or to explore possibilities. Wondering ‘what if…?’
  • Reasoning – Working things out methodically and rigorously, constructing good arguments and spotting flaws in others’ points of view.
  • Capitalising – Drawing on the full range of resources from the wider world – other people, books, the Internet, past experience, future opportunities……

What you can do to help your child become a more resourceful learner?  

  • Questioning  - encourage your child to ask you questions that require explanation rather than ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers. Encourage questions such as ‘why’, ‘what if’, ‘how do you think’, ‘can you tell me more’
  • Making links – help your child to see links between what they learn in school and the real world, help them to see links between things that happen in other parts of the world and how it affects us in Telford and visa versa
  • Imagining –Encourage your child’s imagination through storytelling, listening to stories, planning new experiences, including your child in planning events
  • Reasoning – Encourage debates with your child and help them to carry out tasks at home in a logical way
  • Capitalising – Encourage your child to use a range of resources when they are doing anything at home, help them to try something new.

Reflectiveness is being ready, willing and able to become more strategic about learning – taking a longer-term view by planning, taking stock, and drawing out your experiences as a learner to get the best out of yourself.   Reflectiveness is made up of:  

  • Planning – Thinking about where you are going, the action you are going to take, the time and resources you will need and the obstacles you may encounter
  • Revising – Being flexible, changing your plans in the light of different circumstances, monitoring and reviewing how things are going and seeing new opportunities
  • Distilling – Looking at what is being learned, pulling out the essential features, carrying them forward to aid further learning; being your own learning coach.
  • Meta-learning – knowing yourself as a learner, how you learn best; how to talk about the learning process

What you can do to help your child become a more reflective learner?  

  • Planning – Involve your child in planning trips out, it might be to the supermarket, shopping list, shopping bags, how you are going to get there and back, how long, how much will it cost, what problems might there be?
  • Revising – If your child is involved in an activity with you, take time to talk about how things are going, what could change, how it could be better
  • Distilling – Ask your child to tell you the 3 most important things they learnt during the day, may not all be in school and talk about why they chose them and what difference it will make to them.
  • Meta-learning – Talk to your child what they have learnt and how they learnt it. Talk about how they like to learn, by listening, by having something to look at or by getting totally involved.

Reciprocity in learning is being ready , willing and able to learn alone or with other people – using a sense of independent judgment together with skills in communication and empathy. Reciprocity is made up of: 

  • Making links – seeing connections between totally different events and experiences, building patterns and weaving a web of understanding
  • Imagining – Using your imagination and intuition to put yourself through new experiences or to explore possibilities. Wondering ‘what if…?’
  • Reasoning – Working things out methodically and rigorously, constructing good arguments and spotting flaws in others’ points of view.
  • Capitalising – Drawing on the full range of resources from the wider world – other people, books, the Internet, past experience, future opportunities……

 

What you can do to help your child become a more resourceful learner? 

  • Questioning  - encourage your child to ask you questions that require explanation rather than ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers. Encourage questions such as ‘why’, ‘what if’, ‘how do you think’, ‘can you tell me more’
  • Making links – help your child to see links between what they learn in school and the real world, help them to see links between things that happen in other parts of the world and how it affects us in Telford and visa versa
  • Imagining –Encourage your child’s imagination through storytelling, listening to stories, planning new experiences, including your child in planning events
  • Reasoning – Encourage debates with your child and help them to carry out tasks at home in a logical way
  • Capitalising – Encourage your child to use a range of resources when they are doing anything at home, help them to try something new.

 

Growth Mindset explained

At Sir Alexander Fleming Primary School we would like all our children to be ‘resilient learners’ – and this, in essence, means teaching children to have a growth mindset.

Having a growth mindset means that when children face a challenge and fail, they tend to be more persistent. They try another method, see mistakes as learning and work harder. Using a growth mindset can improve their abilities in and out of the classroom.

Fixed mindset explained

On the other hand, children can fail to reach their potential because they don’t believe they can change, they have no strategies for coping when things get tough. You may hear children saying things like, ‘I’m rubbish at maths.’ Instead of persevering, they go into “self-protection” mode, avoiding the tasks that they find difficult.

Importance of a Growth Mindset

One of the most important ways to help children develop a growth mindset is to focus on the language used during and after the activities. Focus on the task itself, rather than the child’s ability.

Children with a growth mindset who have high expectations and challenging tasks perform better, because low expectations create less growth in the brain.

Helping children to face up to their mistakes will lead to them seeing them as part of the learning experience.