Great learning in the Primary school is not about having all the answers or being the first to respond. It is exemplified by the learning behaviours that we instill in our students.
What makes a great learner? An inquisitive nature and quick recall of key information? Tenacity and attention to detail? Well, the children at BCB might say that a mask and cape could help as they have become so accustomed to the characters who form our unique ‘Learner League’ and their related ‘super strengths’ that they have become synonymous with the learning behaviours they promote.
Born out of a desire to promote a growth mindset within the students, and encourage the demonstration of positive learning attitudes throughout the school, the ‘Learner League’ was created by BCB staff in consultation with our pupils. The academic team worked together to create and then refine a list of the key attitudes and behaviours that they wanted to see in BCB students, which in turn gave rise to our homegrown heroes: The Incredible Inquirer, The Risker, Captain Communicator, Reflective Star and fan-favourite, Grit Man. A school wide design competition then gave form to these ideas and the Learner League was launched in earnest at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year.
The impact was immediate as the quality of conversations about learning was raised across the board. Our pupils now have clear and easily applied touchstones when they talk about how they could improve their work or what they feel they have done well. Teachers, in turn, can easily orientate individuals or groups so that they understand the purpose of the task at hand. Does this activity ask you to think deeply about your own performance, like Reflective Star, or is it an opportunity to strengthen your ability to collaborate effectively just as Captain Communicator does? These conversations take place at different levels right throughout the Primary school.
We have also refreshed our approach to rewards as we seek to further embed the idea that success at school is about learning attitudes that can be developed by anyone who is willing to put in the necessary effort. This is informed by the research around the idea of Growth vs. Fixed mindsets. At BCB, we support the children as they discover that intelligence is not fixed or predetermined, and that through dedication and hard work it is always possible to make progress. Our weekly celebration assemblies identify pupils in each class who have demonstrated an outstanding approach to their own development, with reference to a particular behaviour associated with one of the Learner League heroes.
All this helps to further cement the idea that at our school we value grit over speed, quality over quantity, the learning opportunities presented by mistakes over ‘getting it all right’, and most importantly, effort above all else.