BLP is merely the tip of the iceberg.
This blog is a reflection on where my school is at in terms of BLP (Building Learning Power) following it’s re-launch in September last year – this was the subject of a previous blog
BLP has reignited many discussions – some have focused on the skills that our students should be leaving school with whilst others have centred around students’ mindsets being challenged and developed. This was the subject of my last BLP-based blog.
In a response to faculty discussions and feedback from staff relating to our last BLP-based twilight INSET in December (2014), our most recent twilight INSET (February, 2015) focused on providing staff with a selection of strategies that could be used in the classroom to promote deeper thinking skills in students (which is what BLP is all about in a nutshell – Indeed, I’m sure that even the staunchest critic would struggle to argue with this!).
For this purpose the school’s science block was transformed (and I use that word very loosely indeed!) into a tapas restaurant called ‘Food ‘4’ Thought’. Staff were able to pick 3 ‘items‘ (each representing different BLP-based strategies) off a ‘menu‘ of 7 ‘dishes‘. 7 ‘waiters‘ (colleagues with expertise who had ‘volunteered’) were involved in the independent delivery of each strategy to a group of around 12 ‘diners‘ (colleagues) over a 25 minute session. Each of these 7 ‘waiters‘ delivered 2 separate sessions and were able to choose a ‘dish‘ of their own too in order to learn about a strategy from another ‘waiter‘. All ‘diners‘ (including ‘waiters‘) then convened under the guidance of an assistant-headteacher to discuss (in faculties) a way of moving our students forward in a rapidly-changing world where skills are increasingly JUST AS IMPORTANT AS KNOWLEDGE in gaining employment.
The whole event was an overwhelmingly positive one:
Love the whole concept! Created a buzz around the school engaging staff.
The impressively wide range of Teaching & Learning strategies showcased by the ‘waiters‘ was a true testament of the expertise of colleagues in the school. The depth of discussions amongst ‘diners‘ was quite profound at times; their desire to try out a whole plethora of strategies in their classrooms, ranging from ‘wonderwall‘ to ‘rally robin‘ serves as a clear indication that our collective staff have a growth mindset. This in itself bodes very well for our students.
So what next? BLP for me is all about making the implicit……… EXPLICIT. It is about making students more aware of the skills that they are using when they are actually using them.
This self-awareness is vitally important. Afterall, it is these skills that students write about in their CVs and personal statements. Indeed, it is these skills that they will be questioned about during an interview. For these 2 reasons alone I am an advocate of BLP in every lesson (afterall, it’s happening in lessons anyway!).
I intend to make it even more explicit to students though in lesson outcomes – having moved on from using it to allow students to merely ‘learn the language of BLP’ to now asking students to be far more reflective about the skills that they have used in a lesson.
Following on from the last twilight INSET several BLP ‘superhero’ display boards have gone up in classrooms around the school and there has been an increased level of sharing of ‘skills-based’ (BLP) resources by staff – many of these cross-curricularly. Long may this continue. You could say that the avengers are once more starting to assemble!