As I talked about in an earlier blog post, next year our school will be taking the next step up on our L2L journey. It’s been one that has been going for around 5 years now and has been an exciting learning journey as it has progressed.
One of the mistakes we have learnt from during its infancy came from not having a framework which we were driving L2L towards. As a novice to L2L when I took it on, it was understandably a bit of a whirlwind trying to see how the many different L2L champions were doing things. We looked at many ideas ranging from Guy Claxtons ‘Learning Powers’ to the Habits of Mind programme. Although I implemented and ran with a few ideas which probably didn’t work very well, it has allowed me to be incredibly reflective in my approach.
I am happy to say that the Eureka moment for my own take on L2L came after having a personalised visit to Cramlington Learning Village arranged by Ken Brechin and Mark Lovatt in 2009. The visit here allowed me to see a L2L model in action and finally cleared my very overcrowded thoughts. I realised that simple is always better. I had also just finished reading Carol Dwecks Mindset book so set about putting together a model that would work at our school. Weirdly, the plan that I came up with contains something I ran with right at the beginning, the 5R’s.
Now if you haven’t heard of the R’s before, here is a very quick (and brief) introduction. Basically, an R is a learner attribute or disposition that we want our learners to develop. There are many versions of the R’s out there. In my research and evidence gathering, I’ve seen schools or organisations using anything from 3 to 7 R’s. The next very obvious point is these R’s have to begin with that letter. It would therefore be no surprise that some of the reoccurring ones I have come across include:
For our own L2L model, I decided to go with 5 and stuck with the ones that I had seen being used so effectively at Cramlington (and also part of Alites 5R’s) and had researched so much at the start of my L2L journey. They were Responsibility, Resourcefulness, Resilience, Reasoning and Reflectiveness. I’ve had a few trials of them with my Year 9 L2L classes and regularly used them to point out good (or bad) learning. I believe that these will be effective tools to help learners develop a Growth Mindset and independent learner qualities over Year 7.
So, I have now been tasked with designing the resources that will expose the 5R’s to the Year 7’s next year. In particular I am trying to design some posters and a page for student organiser/planner which raises awareness and explain these qualities. I recently asked the Twitter nation if they had any ideas of what catchy hook I could use that would make learners take interest. One in particular from @Totallywired77 wasn’t directly linked to the posters, but reminded me of some resources I created a few years ago when I trialled the 5R’s (very successfully) with my Year 7 tutor group. Now in 2012, we have labelled them the ‘Rvengers’.
In preparation for next year, I aim to adapt and amend these resources and tie them specifically into our L2L model which we have re branded L@B (Learning at Brookfield). We also plan to have them as a page in the new Year 7's planners which fully explain these attributes and what they do. They will also be one of the first things we introduce in our Year 7 assemblies and will be a driving force in the many Year 7 Learning Days we run.
There will also be a variety of posters for each department to display that highlights the various learner attributes and qualities that we are trying to develop in our learners. The aim is that all teachers at various stages throughout the year, will champion one of these attributes in their departments and help learners to make progress in them. They can be referred to when modelling good learning and good learner habits, as well as being a scaffold in conversations with students who are not meeting our expectations. Either way, they will be powerful tools.
I will also take on @Totallywired77 idea and have student champions of these attributes and get them to be the face and voice of them when speaking to staff and parents. At one of many of our interactions with these stakeholders, I am sure that a first hand message from a learners perspective will help embed these attributes into school life.
We will though have to change them from R's and just refer to them with the Year 7's as 'learner attributes'. This is due to us already adopting the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools award and already have some R's from this tied into our behaviour and rewards policy (we could have a lot of R's on our hands if we don't adapt). Out of interest, our adapted names will be:
I am Responsible
I am Determined
I am Resourceful
I am an effective Thinker
I am Reflective
With having Dweck's Growth Mindset as the aim for our L2L programme, and the '5 Learner Attributes' to support it, I think we have the beginnings of a very exciting programme that should help our students take the step to become independent learners.