BLH Blog

learning@veseys - the blog

All about the learning process at BVGS

'What the impact of BLP has been on my teaching, my students and our school.'

 

I have now been involved with developing a programme of ‘Building Learning Power’ at my

 

school for about 20 months. In that time I believe that I have observed profound effects in so

 

much of what I am involved in.

 

 

 

I have always been a confident teacher and have been lucky enough to have positive

 

relationships with the students that I have taught, I  have also been keen to try new ideas

 

and help my students to develop as learners. Some initiatives have worked to a fashion and

 

other ideas have simply exasperated me. When I initially heard about ‘Building Learning

 

Power’ I was somewhat sceptical, but I read a little further and began to appreciate the logic

 

of the process. Without a doubt the opportunity to empower students with a better grasp of

 

their own learning and to instil a genuine resilience for university study really motivated me

 

to help develop a ‘Building Learning Habit’ culture at my school.

 

 

 

I have noticed that as we have introduced the learning habit terms to the students they have

 

taken them on board with real zest and enthusiasm. The ‘splicing’ of learning habit language

 

into our learning objectives has been quite easy and, I believe, has given our objectives more

 

meaning. As time has passes we are finding that students already have an understanding of

 

the habits and are able to more clearly visualise our dual learning objectives.

 

 

 

In one of my As level teaching groups I had a couple of students who were languishing at

 

grade E/U level when they started their course16 months ago. I have targeted these

 

individuals and their group for close BLP attention! Although it is so difficult to link cause

 

and effect between learning habits and exam performance this group has made astonishing

 

progress, but in particular the two underperforming students have just got strong grade A’s in

 

their mock A2. I anticipate a full set of A and A* grades in the summer from this group. I feel

 

comfortable suggesting that our conversations about learning habits have helped the group

 

with a clearer understanding of their learning. They agree with me that they feel more

 

confident as independent learners as they move toward the challenges of university study.

 

It is pretty straight forward to see the effect on my students. I find it very uplifting as they

 

discuss their own learning using BLP language as the tackle learning challenges. When I ask

 

the students what their impression is of the use of BLP, they are very positive and

 

acknowledge the way in which they are now thinking about their learning. I have just done a

 

session with our Students As Learning Partners or SALP group. They have constructed their

 

own learning ladders and have identified how they might feedback to staff their observations

 

in as constructive a manor as possible. There responses have been so mature and

 

sophisticated throughout.

 

 

 

In my school I feel that the development of BLP has been substantial. After targeting the

 

introduction of learning habits to years 7, 8 and lower sixth in our first year we have

 

expanded to encourage staff to use BLH in all those lessons that they feel comfortable. It has

 

been a natural and unforced progression that now sees the vast majority of lessons

 

incorporating the use of learning habits. We still have a long way to go. Departments have

 

been working on learning ladders which detail their interpretation of the progressive

 

development of learning habits. This work has also been done by parents and our SALP

 

group. Staff triads or quads have also been meeting regularly to share practice initially across

 

curriculum areas and currently within departments. Altogether we are deepening our use of

 

learning habits.

 

 

 

Given these developments and the cultural change which makes us ‘feel’ like a BLH School.

 

There is the bottom line. We see emerging evidence of a positive effect on internal exam

 

results. External exam results remain at record levels despite the school having to

 

deal with continued challenges, especially financial. It is not really possible to link our exam

 

successes directly to BLH, but I remain convinced that the effects can only be positive and

 

will get even better. I also know that my A level students will take on university study with

 

more highly developed and resilient learning skills and that gives me a real sense of

 

satisfaction. I think that we can sum the progress that the school, has made with a recent

 

comment made to me by a teacher of german, who said that the effect of the student using

 

BLH regularly in their lessons has been that they learn more content at a deeper level in less

 

time than ever before.

 

 

 

Steve Baugh

 

Assistant Headteacher,

 

Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School, Sutton Coldfield.

 

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