Drake Primary School and Little Pirates Child Care

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Learning Powers

What are Learning Powers?

At Drake Primary School, we are on a journey to grow our ‘Learning Power’.  In other words, we are all learning to be better learners.

Lifelong learning and the promotion and development of independent learners is strong throughout the Vision, Mission and Aims for our school.


Our Learning powers are:


Responsible and Reciprocal


Reflective and Reflexive


At Drake Primary School, we teach the children all about the different skills and learning muscles and how, just as we can build our physical muscles with the right kinds of exercise, we can also exercise our learning muscles to develop their strength and stamina.


As part of our project with educationalist Shirley Clarke the staff and pupils have developed a group of special characters that display the learning powers (dispositions and attitudes). The characters are in all year groups to support this learning.

We will use Learning Powers to develop our ‘Language for Learning’ in school and this will enabled us to engage all pupils in a dialogue using a common language to support and develop our understanding of how we learn. It is our intention that the children use the language for learning to explain ways in which they achieved or approached tasks and how they can move on to the next chapter in their learning.

Each of the learning powers has a character to help the children. We tell stories with each of these characters demonstrating the learning power.

We hope that this information helps to make you aware of the language we use and you can use the same language to discuss and support your child’s learning.



Resourceful – Suzie the Squirrel

The children will develop their ability to ask and answer questions, use resources around them to help them with their learning, make links between the different areas of their learning and of course, use their imaginations!


  • Questioning – getting below the surface; being curious
  • Making links – seeking coherence, relevance and meaning
  • Imagining – using the mind’s eye as a learning theatre
  • Reasoning – thinking rigorously and methodically
  • Capitalising- making good use of resource


To be resourceful is to be able to adapt to different learning challenges.  This is about having the tools of a good learner and the skills with which to deploy those tools.  A child who is never involved in positive decisions about her own learning will not have the attribute of resourcefulness.  If, for whatever reason, a child develops a presupposition that learning is a passive activity, then the ability to make autonomous decisions about applying skills and utilising learning tools will be significantly diminished.  To be resourceful is also to be willing to take the risk of learning, which may involve revealing ignorance or making mistakes.





Responsibility and Reciprocity – Ortiz the Otter


The children will learn how, why and when it is best to learn on their own, with a partner or within a group and develop the skills they need to be a valued member of a team and a learning community.


  • Interdependence – balancing self-reliance and sociability
  • Collaboration – the skills of learning with each other
  • Empathy and listening – getting inside other minds
  • Imitation – picking up others good habits and values



Responsibility is the recognition that actions have consequences, and the ability and willingness to consider fully those consequences before taking action.  Managing impulsiveness, delaying immediate gratification and thinking in terms of success outcomes are characteristics of the responsible learner.  So too is the ability to empathise and to see things from multiple perspectives.  Responsibility is also about locating your own actions within a larger scheme of things.



Resilience – Mandy the Mouse


The children will learn how to stay locked onto their learning, the importance of never giving up and the benefits of learning when getting un-stuck.


  • Absorption – the pleasure of being rapt in learning …awe and wonder
  • Managing distractions – recognising and reducing interruptions
  • Noticing – really sensing what’s out there
  • Perseverance – stickability; tolerating the feelings of learning 


Resilience means being able to persist in the face of frustration or setbacks, or when complexity is seemingly overwhelming.  Metacognition – the ability to engage with and be curious about your own thinking – is the sign of a resilient learner.  The resilient learner has developed a range of coping strategies and does not either internalise or externalise blame.  The coping strategies of a resilient learner are bolstered by a positive self-image, which in turn emerges from high self-esteem.  This allows the resilient learner to be able to place failure in context and to be able to see possibilities for learning within the experience.   To a child with resilience ‘there is no failure, only feedback’.





Reflectively/Reflexivity – Sala the Swallow


The children will learn how and why they learn and will be encouraged to regularly look back on their learning to see whether they have met their targets and objectives. They will be asked to think about future targets and areas for improvement.


  • Planning – working learning out in advance
  • Revising – monitoring and adapting along the way
  • Distilling – drawing out the lessons from experience
  • Meta-learning – understanding learning and yourself as a learner



Reflectivity-reflexivity is the capability of reflecting on experience – making comparisons with similar and dissimilar experiences – to infer or draw conclusions.  Reflectivity – reflexivity is an active and dynamic process.  By reflecting backwards, patterns of response are located and can be reinforced.  The more we reflect, the more likely we are to be able to and want to.  Thus reflection itself becomes reflexive.  As we reflect on experience we begin to open the possibility of acting on experience and thus learn.  Reflexivity is the consequence of reflectivity practised, or distributed, overtime.  A teacher develops this capability in her children by reflective questioning, by review, by distributed rehearsal, by educative feedback.


Rational – Oritse the Owl


The children will learn to behave and think logically. They will be able to make sense of things that they have read or heard.


  • Breaking down problems
  • Being systematic
  • Pattern seeking



To be capable of reasoning is to be able to be rational and see problems through in self-managed, considered and systematic way.  Complex problems are broken down into their elements, their essential features described and the relationships between such elements defined.  Reasoning thus involves seeking patterns or relationships, describing those relationships and then re-constituting those relationships.  Children who can reason discern patterns in everyday experience and can also originate patterns.  A teacher who develops the capability of reasoning in a child therefore endows that child with a range of tools that are capable of enduring transfer into a range of everyday challenges.  The disposition to reason does, however, differ from the ability to reason.  This is why reasoning of its own without resilience, without responsibility and resourcefulness, does not have the same enduring transfer.