This has been influenced in part by the research of a number of educational experts, namely, Dylan William, Paul Black, Carol Dweck and Shirley Clarke. The research highlights the importance of pupils being active participants in the learning process. A culture of active learning sees teachers and children as partners.
Active learning has maximum impact within a school culture that promotes a ‘growth mindset’, where intelligence is viewed as something that can be increased through hard work and effort. A ‘growth mindset’ encourages a ‘can do’ approach to learning where ability is not seen as fixed. Instead children are motivated to have a go, take risks and are not afraid to make mistakes but rather they are willing to embrace new challenges. Children are supported in being resilient, persistent and confident learners.
At Gillespie we engage children as active partners in their own learning through a range of learning and assessment strategies which foster deeper learning and enable children to make rapid and excellent progress. This is achieved by involving children dynamically at all stages in the learning process.
How do we achieve a strong learning culture?
‘All learners need self-belief and the ability to reflect on how they learn for that learning to be successful’, Shirley Clarke 2011
Within the school we aim for all staff to use the language of a growth mindset which focuses on improvement and achievement rather than on a fixed notion of ability. Children are praised for demonstrating positive learning dispositions e.g. being curious, using their imagination, persevering, being cooperative, achieving/ understanding more, rather than closed statements about ability, e.g. you are clever. We have found that using this language motivates children to try harder and to have a more positive approach to their own learning.
Children from nursery to year 6 have been involved in designing and creating animals to help all of us remember the characteristics of learning. The animals are;