The BLP approach engages students consciously with the ideas and processes of their learning and with the language they need to talk about it and develop it.
An analogy can be drawn between BLP and physical fitness and this can help to understand the thinking behind it.
If you want to improve your physical fitness, you may go to the gym:
you believe it is possible to get fitter
you realise that getting fitter is going to take work and involve you getting hot, sweaty and tired
If you believed your level of fitness was fixed – predetermined by your genetic make-up – going to the gym would be pointless.
So too with your intellectual ability: a first principle of BLP is that an individual's ability is NOT fixed and that learning is learnable.
How BLP works:
Your Learning Powered Mind
Research has shown that helping students become more independent, more reflective and better able to plan and evaluate their own learning has been found to be a better way of boosting their attainment than relentless drilling in the subject matter.
We want students to see the classroom as a mental fitness centre where they will spend time with a "learning-power coach" who will help their minds become stronger and more supple.
BLP works with 4 key learning dispositions – the 4 Rs – these are referred to as the learning muscles: Resilience, Resourcefulness, Reflectiveness and Reciprocity. (see diagram "Your Learning Powered Mind" ).
Each of these muscles is made up of a number of learning behaviours / capacities. These are specific and can be individually trained, nurtured and exercised.
Years 7 & 8 BLP lessons will focus on each of these capacities in turn through the year so that students develop these learning behaviours and can then apply them in any learning situations.
What do Students think?
98.5% respondents from Years 7 & 8 said expressed enjoyment of the BLP lessons, citing reasons such as:
"I enjoy the challenges and the fact it makes you think"
"it makes you notice things a lot more often than before and you realise things a lot more than usual"
"You can discover new things that help parts of the brain teaching us new things"
"We have to use our imagination"
"I enjoy the fact that it's the only lesson where you get to slow down and think about your learning and the importance of making links and it helps you understand using your brain more in different ways"
"We get into groups and talk about our strengths and weaknesses and we also get to do different activities and try to discuss about things in life"
"I enjoy the activities in the lesson because it makes me think hard"
Almost half of the students surveyed had already made changes to how they learn in lesson and at home, giving examples such as:
"I think more about what the question is asking and dig deeper into the text or question"
"I've made links between my lessons to help me with my work"
"In other subjects I think about how BLP can help me"
"Asking more questions about the lesson I am in and improving"
"Now I think before I do something"
"Now problem solving isn't that hard"
"I'm able to manage my distractions more and I've become more resilient, if I don't understand a question I don't give up, I continue to try to find an answer"
"I think of different ways to answer questions before I used to just go with the first answer that popped into my head"