It has been a long time since I last wrote a blog, too long in fact. This time of year is so busy as I am sure you all know. It is a time for reflecting, evaluating and thinking of successes and next steps.
Hawthornden has seen many successes within Visible Learning this year and with that comes next steps too. As a final blog for this session I just wanted to share some of those with you…
We have created a Visible Learning Aspiration for our school which we aim to fulfill;
All Learners at Hawthornden exhibit the characteristics of an Assessment Capable, Visible Learner. They understand and can describe what they are learning, how they are doing and where they will go next. Together staff will share assessment results with Learners and Parents and together we will work on these.
This really helps to focus us and to set our sights high on what it is we are working towards and aiming for.
A key highlight for us was taking part in the VLNetworkUK visit in March. This was such a fantastic day. It was inspiring to work with and enter into dialogue with so many professionals. We opened our doors to lots of visitors on the day and this really helped to validate where we were and to help with our next steps.
Pupil voice has been a huge part of our journey… In particular when it came to developing our Learning Dispositions. Staff worked alongside our Learning Council – a vertical group made up of pupils from P1-7 to look closely at developing Learning Dispositions. We wanted to create a set of Learning Dispositions that were based and underpinned by research but that also incorporated pupil voice. We took baseline statements of ‘How do you learn’ and then after input and direction from teachers we asked the same question again. From this evidence pupils in the Learning Council devised a list of common words from across the school. We then mapped the words on to Guy Claxton’s Learning Powered Brain to ensure there was a clear coverage. The Learning Council set to work decided on a name and how these words would be shared across our school. Pupil voice lead the way with the whole school voting for a name for our list of words – The Legendary Learning List. Posters were designed by the pupils and then printed. Each word was then shared during Citizenship with a focus week and application challenge set for each word. Our aim now is to continue to embed these further in our daily routines and ethos across our school. Each pupil was given a bookmark to take home with a supporting booklet to share with parents on our work on Learning Dispositions.
A3 Legendery Learning Poster %28Hawthornden%29 (1)
Pupils are now able to discuss ‘good learner’ qualities. There has been a shift in thinking between our baseline statement in March 2015 of ‘what makes a good learner’ to March 2016. The focus on behaviour is slowly disappearing, there are still some references to behaviour but there is more of a focus now on the process and the learning qualities.
Pupil Baseline Statements – March 2015
Children at Hawthornden Primary School think a Good Learner:
• Tries their best
• Is confident
• Uses feedback to improve
• Has a positive attitude in class and school
• Works together
• Puts their hand up
• Looks at the teacher
• Follows the school rules
• Gets the answers right
• Sits up straight
• Finishes their work Impact March 2016
Pupil Baseline Statements – March 2016
Children at Hawthornden Primary School think a Good Learner
• Growth Mindset – persevere, determined, never gives up
• Makes Mistakes
• Sets Targets
• Works with others
• Goes into the Learning Pit
• Focuses / concentrates
• Works with others
• Likes a challenge / Aims High
Visible Learning surveys were carried out in September 2015 and then re-visited in May 2016 – this showed a significant shift across the school in pupils understanding what they are learning and the strategies for learning and their views on mistakes.
Evidence from class walk throughs and our pupil conference provided lots of examples of when and how pupils can talk about their learning e.g. reflection logs, target setting, PAT PALS and through focus group work on voice on the table. During our recent VSE (Validated Self Evaluation) Pupils were able to talk about their learning and use Growth Mindset set language as well as show some of the characteristics of a Visible Learner.
Staff evaluated themselves against the teacher mindframes – the common themes that were areas of development were Language of Learning and Dialogue Vs Monologue. Staff then worked together to create a shared vision for each mindframe as something to aspire to. As a result staff collaborated to develop a coaching model approach to support the development of the key mindframes in their classroom practice. Trios where created and staff visited each others classrooms to look at the learning and the evidence of the chosen mindframe. A coaching session took place where staff made and set targets to work on developing that mindframe further. This has lead to a greater relational trust with a culture of collaboration. Common themes and practice have been developed. Staff previously were reluctant to observe and enter classrooms – this has now improved. Staff have reflected on our school journey and their own journey at key stages throughout the year and have selected highlights and made aspirations.
We have a greater emphasis and use of professional reading and research resulting in professional dialogue focused on learning. The evidence and impact of this is the well attended professional reading groups and the spread of good practice as a result of the impact of research in classrooms.
Our successes have allowed us to think about where we want to go next… some of the key areas we will look to focus on next session are;
• To continue to develop the language of learning in our school – looking at the formation of L.I and S.C which will provide a foundation for further work on feedback. This will focus more on skills which will support the reflection of learning journeys.
• Continue to work on and embed Legendary Learning List so that all pupils can name and apply these confidently in their learning and give examples.
• To work on staff and pupils sharing assessment data and knowing how they have done in their last assessment.
• More consistent use of target setting and next steps across all classes and modelling good practice and the learning journey through WAGOLL and Learning Ladders.
• Continue to develop teacher mindframes and create a common and shared vision for each mindframe.
• Use of challenge in classrooms to be deemed as a positive and to continue to emphasis Growth Mindset.
• Continue to use survey data to reflect on practice and use this to measure impact.
• Sharing good practice and evidence of impact to support and motivate staff – Matrix to support practice.
• Continue staff reading groups – to support development of mindframes and visible learners.
• Gather baseline evidence to begin to look at feedback in classroom from pupils and teachers.
Visible Learning continues to form a key part of SIP for next session and I am looking forward to continuing on our journey to see where it takes us next year. Collaboration and support from staff, pupils, parents, EPS, local schools and the VLNetwork have undoubtedly been a huge factor in helping us on our journey – Thank You!