Philosophy of Learning
Building Learning Power
Building Learning Power is an approach to helping young people to become better learners, both in school and out.
-Professor Guy Claxton
Guy Claxton is Emeritus Professor of the Learning Sciences at the University of Winchester, a post he took up in September 2008 together with the role of Co-Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning (CrL).
His practical ideas about how to expand young people’s appetite and capacity for learning have influenced educational theory and practice across the world. Building Learning Power is about helping young people become better learners, developing their learning power and preparing them for a lifetime love of learning.
At St John’s we develop the children’s learning character and habits in four areas:
Reciprocity – being ready, willing and able to learn alone and with others
Empathy and listening
Resilience – being ready, willing and able to lock on to learning
Reflectiveness – being ready, willing and able to become more strategic about learning
Resourcefulness – being ready, willing and able to learn in different ways
We might think of these skills as ‘learning muscles’. Just as we build up our physical muscles with exercise, we can exercise our learning muscles to develop their strength and stamina. We believe by doing this, our pupils will be more curious, more willing to take risks and give it a go, be more imaginative and creative, more thoughtful and able to learn with and from others.
Every Monday we hold a merit Collective Worship, in which children are rewarded for actively displaying one of the 4Rs in their learning. We aim for the skills to become habit-forming across the whole school.
The Big Question
Every Tuesday in Collective Worship, the school joins together to share our thoughts and opinions on a chosen philosophical topic. This gives an opportunity for children to develop not only their speaking and listening skills, but to structure their discussion and debating techniques using sentence openers such as:
From my point of view...
I would stay that...
I share your view...
I have come to the same conclusion...
In that case...
I disagree with...
I think otherwise...
In my opinion..
I agree wtih...
Thinking tools help our children with mental processes, such as:
They support different types of cognition; information processing, enquiry, creative thinking and reasoning. We aim to stimulate our learners to use and apply thinking skills habitually.
Some of the tools we use are:
Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats
These are used for exploring different perspectives towards a complex situation or challenge. Each hat and its corresponding colour represent a different viewpoint.
If one learns from others but does not think, one will be bewildered. If, on the other hand, one thinks but does not learn from others, one will be in peril.
-Confucian Analects 11.15
Graham Watts‘ HOT tools
Higher Order Thinking Tools (HOT tools) bring literacy and thinking skills together. The 10 HOT tools give form and shape to thinking and provide a structure to turn thoughts into extended writing
Carol Dweck‘s Growth Mindset
Teaching a growth mindset encourages children (and adults) to believe their basic qualities can be developed through dedication and hard work, which not only helps to create resilience and perseverance but also fosters a love of learning. On the other hand, those with a fixed mindset believe that talent alone creates success without effort.