Values-based education has traditionally occupied the territory of behaviour, personal development and well-being and SMSC. Such is its impact in schools serving diverse communities across the globe, that I feel sure that this approach must also be able to serve our learning. If values guide our thinking and our behaviour in social contexts, then values can surely guide our thinking and attitudes to learning too. In our profession, we all understand that learning is an emotional event. Our attitudes to it as well as to ourselves make the critical difference.
As values-motivated practitioners at Eardisley CE Primary School we have therefore been looking for a way for some time of making their impact on learning much more meaningful and explicit. Some of my teachers have described how values are so effective because they create ‘a hook on which to hang all aspects of what we do’. So they have become our ‘learning hooks’ as well as our ‘living hooks’!
At our school we follow the now-traditional "Value of the Month" pattern – but we also felt that we needed to make a selected few our principle, or key, values our school's bedrock. After much debate, the children chose:
These all have clear learning as well as social implications, and they serve great purpose throughout the school. We felt, however, that we needed to nuance our learning values rather more than this and based on teaching observations, our discussions with pupils and the new OFSTED framework, we felt that:
provided an accessible and straight-forward set of learning values. We have quickly adopted them and made them our own. Through the wisdom of Winnie-the-Pooh, we shared these concepts and their applications with the children in assembly and in classes. We have also made desktop displays book plates so that there is a constant presence. Moreover, and most importantly, teachers make regular and explicit reference to them in both planning and leading lessons. They have proved to be immensely apposite in improving our learning behaviours. Children have grasped them readily and enthusiastically apply them. There is a deep connection between these and our regular, monthly whole-school values that guide our behaviours and the outcome is seamless. Recent independent inspections have endorsed them too. Try them out for yourselves and see the impact!
© Bridget Knight October 2015
My learning ValuesFocus
: I look and listen Determination
: I keep on trying.Engagement
: I ask and answer questionsSelf-belief
: I believe I can!
I love my learning journey!