Developing a language for resilience (part 1 and 2)

Part 1: (first uploaded 13th February 2017)

As a starter project  in a new school the Centre  spoke with Years 5 and 6 children about resilience; one of the school’s priorities. We used a range of stimuli such as; video clips, challenges, as well as speaking and listening strategies such as thinking time and both A/B and ‘spy’ talk together with independent and collaborative learning in order to explore:

  • the language of resilience;
  • the emotions associated with resilience
  • the ‘benefits’ of becoming more resilient

The children’s responses were then used to facilitate a staff meeting.

The structure of which replicated what the children had experienced earlier in the afternoon.

The school is now addressing the following four questions.

The school has decided, in partnership with the Centre, to use an ‘action research’ approach. Two teachers will be supported over the Spring Term to focus on the four key questions, the process and outcomes will be reviewed, developed and shared with the rest of the school as a stimulus for a ‘whole school approach’.

At the first ‘action research meeting’ we reviewed the work with the children in Years 5 and 6 together with the feedback from the staff meeting. As a result of this the teachers have set themselves some targets namely:

  1. To agree a ‘school based’ definition of the term resilience. This will be linked to other learning taking place in school – such as their GREAT DREAM (focused on furthering children’s aspirations).
  2. To engage children in a range of stimuli to explore feelings and record on a  ‘graded washing line’ (a tool that allows the children to assess the importance to them of these stimuli as they discuss where they fit on the washing line).
  3.  To establish a ‘cycle of resilience’ that demonstrates to the children the process  (or steps in) in being resilient.
  4. Develop a bank of words and/or phrases that teachers can ‘para phrase’ and   model for children.
  5.  Capture the children’s understanding of resilience with  pictures, diagrams, quotes, photographs and more – so that it can be evaluated and hopefully shared.


Part 2: (First uploaded 2nd March 2017)

At the second ‘action research meeting’ we reviewed the 5 steps above.

Two members of staff had created the  ‘graded washing lines’ (point 2 of the original targets) for the children to use to discuss and assess their emotions. These will increasingly become a tool that can be applied in different contexts furthering the ability of the children to explore, discover and communicate their feelings about their learning.

The school is now working on creating a  ‘school based’ definition of the term resilience, which will have meaning and application within their learning community.  Staff are also testing out using symbols to help communicate these ideas with their younger children.

This will all be reviewed later in the year and it will be interesting to see how terms such as ‘responsibility’ become a focus as the children start to manage their ‘resilience’ based learning.  We look forward to sharing these developing attributes of resilience, an interesting early example –  ‘we know how to change our emotions from negative to positive’.

Another practical tool that staff are testing out is a ‘cycle of resilience’.

Next steps: Develop a range of activities to explicitly ‘test’ resilience including:

  1.  Over four to five days present the children with a range of the activities introducing the ‘circle of resilience’ in an agreed order.
  2.  During the week above try to capture the ‘essence’ of resilience through annotated photographs, ‘post-it’ notes, pupil voice, teacher observations.
  3.  Continue with the ‘emotional washing line’.

We look forward to sharing more on this project.

A forum for dialogue – ‘let’s talk about social learning’

The Centre’s 1st ‘Social Learning – Learning Network’ – 2nd February 2017

“inspiring and thought provoking”

“my head is spinning with thoughts and ideas”

Just two of the comments that we have received after our first ‘Social Learning – Learning Network’.

First of all we must thank Wormley School for hosting the first learning network meeting, secondly a big thank you to those who were able and willing to tell us their story to date and thirdly to all those who contributed to the discussions.

During the meeting we:

  1. Shared the 3 aims and 5 building blocks that underpin the work of the Centre.
  2. Clarified the purpose and nature of the learning network itself.
  3. Provided an insight into the methods behind establishing a social learning agenda – as we shared an assessment tool – ‘starting conversations’ – which is currently being developed with 5 Cambridgeshire Schools. We also shared some thoughts on evaluating impact.

At this point staff from three schools shared their journeys to date focussing on:

  1. Why start the journey and three years later its impact on children as effective learners.
  2. The development of ‘reasoning in the context of ‘notice, narrate and navigate’ and the importance of ‘pause moments’.
  3. Establishing learning attributes using the 7Cs (from Educating Ruby by Bill Lucas and Guy Claxton), developing a language for learning.
  4. Coaching as an ‘empowerment’ model for enhancing professional development and for extending the way in which children can manage their own learning.

During the discussion key messages were shared and included.

Pupil Voice : How often do we seek children’s views, at what depth and for what purpose?

Teaching : What is the role of the teacher? What does it mean to ‘facilitate’ learning and the skills involved in that? Do teachers have the confidence to ‘pause’ the activity to focus on the pace and depth of learning?

Staff : Do we recognise the importance of building teams, identifying champions and the need  for trusting relationships?

Strategic development :  To what extent are our decisions informed by ‘research’? Do we realise that “we don’t need to do it all on day one, its a journey” ?

Ethos : Do we recognise that the school culture/ethos is the key driver, that this should be based on a clear and explicit set of values, principles and beliefs, that underpin all our decisions? With the most important question being:

Where do children fit into this big picture, as partners?

We hope to post some audio extracts of the meeting and the ideas shared soon.

The next ‘Social Learning – Learning Network’ 

again hosted by Wormley School, Broxbourne, Herts, EN10 6QA)

Thursday 18th May from 12:00pm until 3:00pm

If you would like to join us, or would like any further information,

please get in touch…