Building Better Learners

  • Overview
  • Primary

When children learn how to learn their enthusiasm for learning is a joy to behold, their achievement levels rise and behaviour is simply not an issue.  As learning how to learn re-establishes its rightful place in the primary curriculum, schools are relishing the opportunity to rebalance traditional content acquisition with the development of pupils’ learning habits.

Building Better Learners is a blended package of learning resources, training and consultancy support, offering schools an affordable, guided, do-it-yourself start to developing pupils’ learning habits. This package allows the school to build expertise through an in-house professional learning programme. You can learn your way forward, working at your own pace, and save yourself the cover costs often incurred by externally led training days. Use of these materials will secure the early development of pupils’ learning habits right across the school, and create a common language for learning. The materials and consultancy ensure staff:

  • feel confident that the approach is relevant, worthwhile and manageable.
  • base their own development on a self-review.
  • introduce key learning habits into classrooms.
  • experience and share success in the approach quickly.
  • observe the growth of pupils’ learning capacities.
  • enjoy their teaching more.

And pupils make a confident flying start in becoming independent learners!

We all learn in different ways so the pack contains books, posters, animations, and classroom practice resources to help everyone get to grips with the philosophy and practice of building pupils’ learning habits.

The content ideas are drawn from the well-respected learning-how-to-learn framework created by Professor Guy Claxton.  This framework incorporates the emotional, social, cognitive and personal responsibility aspects of learning.  As such it is all-embracing and fits snugly with SEAL and Assessment for Learning.

The important things

This blended pack of resources enables the school to

  • Introduce a research-based approach to learning across the school
  • Establish a common language for learning
  • Use a character-based approach to learning to give coherence to the curriculum
  • Feel confident that their plan for developing pupil learning is robust and soundly based.
  • Build the learning capacity of staff

Embarking on a carefully scaffolded do-it-yourself school development project means that staff will:

  • Grow in confidence as they become learning coaches
  • Assist each other in re-balancing the curriculum
  • Learn at their own pace, based on their readiness to learn
  • Save hours of time on designing learning activities
  • Learn from what other teachers have done
  • Feel ready to deepen the approach having had success in the early stages

Our experience across the country shows that by using these materials pupils will:

  • Quickly develop a learning vocabulary
  • Come to understand themselves as learners
  • Be able to stick at things even when they are difficult
  • Work more collaboratively with their peers
  • Become more flexible learners; monitoring what they are doing and changing tack if necessary
  • Take a questioning approach to learning - wanting to explore the why’s and wherefores
  • Enjoy their learning and
  • Become more independent as learners
    Yes! It really does happen.

The blended learning package

1. Training and consultancy

  • Initial staff training
    • a half-day training workshop for all staff, introducing the basic elements of learning power.
    • and on the same day...
  • SLT induction
    • A half-day session with SLT to introduce the resource pack of materials and guide the team in planning to establish the building of learning power in classrooms.

2. The pack of resources

A pack of resources including books, posters, and electronically available CPD sessions and classroom activities.

Books – Offering a reservoir of information and ideas on the what, why and how of learning power

Building Learning Power
by Professor Guy Claxton
Three copies
Learning Power Heroes
By Raegan Delaney & Leanne Day
Full of practical ideas from schools
Five copies
Building Learning Power in Action
By Sarah Gornall, Maryl Chambers and Guy Claxton
Practical ideas for all the learning capacities
Five copies
Building 101 ways to Learning Power
By Maryl Chambers, Graham Powell and Guy Claxton
Helping teachers make a step change in their practice
Five copies
Learning to Learn – the Fourth Generation
By Guy Claxton
A canter through previous Learning to Learn ideas, and the important step change into the fourth generation approach in helping young people become better learners
Two copies
The Learning Powered School
by Guy Claxton, Maryl Chambers, Graham Powell and Bill Lucas
An inspirational new must-read book
One copy
At a Glance Cards (series 2)
A set of five cards which explain five of the Learning Power capacities, together with practical examples of classroom practice.



Four sets of five posters to assist classroom displays.

The materials on the CD-ROM will help the school to

  • understand
  • introduce and
  • implement

the early stages of this dynamic approach to learning and teaching: where teachers become learning coaches and pupils become more self aware and independent learners.
Illustrations of learning-how-to-learn in action are drawn from schools across England and Wales where learning power has been thoroughly infused into the curriculum and is having a transforming effect on pupils’ demeanour, behaviour and achievement.

Section 1 Making the most of the materials – covers the purpose, content and use of the pack.

Section 2 Professional Learning – ten CPD units designed to:

  • Introduce staff to key aspects of learning power
  • Offer examples of how these key aspects of learning might be introduced to pupils
  • Encourage staff to try things out in their classrooms, observe what happens and note the impact on pupils (mini learning enquiries)
  • Share and learn from each other’s experiments
  • Consider further development based on shared knowledge of new practice

The units are designed to scaffold, steer and model good practice in professional development.

Each unit can be used either with the whole staff or a group of staff. Unit ten is designed to help you introduce Building Learning Power to new staff, Parents and governers. Each unit takes about 45 minutes to an hour, but they can be combined and sequenced to fit the school’s needs.

Each unit has a scaffolding Powerpoint presentation, complete tutor guidance notes, and resource materials. There is enough material for a whole year’s CPD.

Section 3 Classroom Activities – a wide range of classroom-based activities that will help teachers to introduce and embed the four learning capacities introduced in the CPD units. These include specially written stories for younger children, starter activities and longer stretching activities. There are animations which capture the essence of learning capacities and progression statements that explain what you are trying to develop in young learners. A wealth of material for teachers and pupils to play with and enjoy.

3. The learning review tool

A learning review tool is sent to the school six months into their learning journey to help them guage their progress.

The review tool enables the school to compare their developing practice against learning bench marks and stimulate further development. The review tool consists of:

  • Presentation with notes to introduce the learning review tool to staff
  • Detailed notes on how the review might be planned
  • Two review tools that focus on observation and critical reflection
    • a set of student learning habit bench marks
    • a set of teaching for learning bench marks
  • Detailed notes on how to analyse the data
  • Presentation with notes to share and report findings with staff