‘It is about maximising children’s learning potential through good teaching and the proper application of evidence about how children develop and learn and how happy teachers teach more effectively.’
‘Any school which strives to educate the whole person should also ensure proper academic standards.’
– The Elephant’s footprint
Exploring, knowing, understanding and making sense
To enable children to encounter and be able to explore the wealth of human experience through introduction to and active engagement in, the different ways through which we make sense of our world and act upon it: intellectual, ethical, spiritual, creative, social, emotional and physical; through language, mathematics, science, the humanities, the arts, religion and other ways of knowing and understanding. Learning is grounded in a mixture of amazement and curiosity which constitutes childhood wonder. Further to this we would encourage children to know & celebrate how the learning strategies they employ are closely related to many mindful principles.
|Learning Strategies*||Mindful Principles|
|Managing Distractions, Noticing & Present Moment||Right Mindfulness, Right Effort & Meditation|
|Responding (Not Reacting), Thinking Aloud, Thinking Time & Responsibility||Right Mindfulness & Right Concentration|
|Meta-learning, Reflection, Revising & Planning||Impermanence, Interdependence, Meditation, Wisdom|
|Making Links, Questioning & Trying Things Out.||Right Effort, Patience, Meditation|
|Listening, Empathy & Collaboration||Interdependence, Loving Kindness, Right Speech, Right Action, The Middle Way, Patience|
*Based on Guy Claxton’s (Co-author of the Elephant’s Footprint) work on learnacy. [http://www.buildinglearningpower.co.uk/images/blpia_extract.pdf]
Fostering skilful behaviours
To foster in children skilful behaviours on which learning and a rewarding ethical life most depend: mindfulness practices, mindful speaking & deep listening, inquiry & debate, literacy, mathematics, science, information technology, the creative and performing arts; but also in practical activities: communication, compassion, creativity, invention, mindfulness, problem-solving & reflection.
Exciting the imagination
To excite children’s imagination in order that they can advance beyond present understanding, extend the boundaries of their lives, contemplate a world possible as well as actual, understand cause and effect, develop the capacity for empathy, and reflect on and regulate their behaviour; to explore and test language, ideas and arguments in activity and form of thought. To experience the delights – and pains – of imagining, and of entering into the imaginative world of others, is to become a more rounded person.
Enacting right-speech & deep listening
Right speech & deep listening can help children grasp that learning and reflecting on mindfulness practices is communal and that understanding builds through joint activity & potentially promotes wisdom. To help children recognise that knowledge is not only transmitted but also negotiated and re-created. To continue to advance our pedagogy in which dialogue is central: between self and others, between present and past, between different ways of making sense.
By listening to our pupils we will become a better schools. If a school is an advocate of children’s voices. They will recognise the importance of listening to their learners and their opinions about their school and their education and indeed the children are invited to input into their ‘community curriculum’.
What children have to say:
Ignoring chats when you’re supposed to is one aspect of managing distractions. It’s when I try to put a stop to anything that might cause me to stop learning. It’s an important skill to practice because it helps you learn better. (For example if someone is doing funny faces try and ignore them. Try focusing your mind on your own work).
Noticing is an important skill because many amazing things happen in the day and it’s sad to miss things.
This skill is important to practice. It is when we keep trying even when things look difficult.
Focusing on what is happening now. It is an important skill because if you don’t focus on the here and now you can be confused or you can miss out on what is happening in the now.
Is a very important skill because it allows us to look at something we have done and gives us a second chance for example; My dad was once shouting down the phone and I shouted “Stop shouting.” I reflected on this in the afternoon and realised that it wasn’t a very good idea to shout myself.
Meta-learning is knowing how you learn best and what you find is the easiest way for you to learn. For example some people are tactile learners, they need to you use their hands. Some are visual and some like to listen best. It is also about knowing who is best to work with on certain topics and who is maybe better to avoid due to distractions.
Revising is an important skill that we practice. Sometimes our teacher sends us back to look over our work because it could be wrong or need changing (but not always) it gives us a second chance to think again (revise it).
This skill is important because if you don’t plan, you don’t know what you are doing! And the thing that you want to do is more likely to fail!
Trying Things Out
Not saying no. This skill is important because it’s when I take a risk with something You’ve never done before. You might miss out on something you really like or are good at.
Sometimes it is good to question the things we read or hear. This can help us get a better understanding or change our opinion on something.
Having a reason for doing or saying something. Explaining why my answer is right is reasoning in maths.
This skill is important because it helps us make a web of knowledge and helps us use our knowledge in different subjects. For example today we were learning about shapes and space, we learnt that half a sphere is called a hemisphere. We soon made a link between this maths knowledge our geography knowledge. Because the globe is made up of two hemispheres.
Doing something with others. This is important because when we are older we have to work well with all different types of people. Understanding that we all share the space and are connected.
Listening and not talking. This skill is important because it helps me learn from other people’s ideas. It also helps me understand other people’s opinions & points of view.
This is when we work hard as a class to achieve something. This is an important skill because if we work well together we can achieve more.
Trying to know how someone else is feeling. This skill is important because how I react to someone can make that person feel happier.
Responding not reacting
Mind before mouth. This skill is important because you might hurt someone else and regret it afterwards.