Building Learning Power: 

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”  Eric Hoffer

Building Learning Power was created by professor Guy Claxton.  At SIJS we teach the five R’s explicitly in the firm belief that learning is learnable and that we have a duty to ensure pupils have a skillset they will be able to apply in all aspects of their life, now and in the future.   Professor Claxton suggests there are four major learning dispositions as follows:

resilience-iconResilience:  the emotional aspects of learning (feeling) and the disposition with which to attend to learning and keep going when things get tough.

In turn, the disposition of resilience is made up of the following four muscles:

  • Absorption: flow: the pleasure of being in the learning bubble when time flies
  • Managing distractions: recognising and being pro-active in managing interruptions
  • Noticing: really sensing what’s out there and making connections
  • Perseverance: coping with the range of feelings involved in learning and stickability which as we all know is the ‘super secret to success’

Resourcefulness:  the cognitive side of learning (thinking) which enables us to make use of a number of learning strategies.resourcefulness-icon

Resourcefulness is made up of five different muscles:

  • Questioning: challenging yourself and others and showing real curiosity coupled with a desire to get below the surface of things.  At SIJS we often refer to this as TMM (Tell Me More)
  • Making links: seeing connections between subjects and experiences
  • Imagining: Wondering “What if?” and using your imagination to be part of new experiences
  • Reasoning: being logical and systematic to solve problems and work things out
  • Capitalising: using everything you can from other people, books, the web, your own experience to make sense of things

reflectiveness-iconReflectiveness: the strategic aspects of learning (managing) which enable us to think about learning and think about ourselves as learners.

Muscles which make up Reflectiveness are:

  • Planning: thinking about where you are going, the steps you need to take, what you’ll need and any problems you might come across
  • Revising: being flexible and being able to change your plans
  • Distilling: pulling out the essential bits (the golden nuggets) and being your own learning coach
  • Meta-learning: knowing about learning and being able to talk about it


reciprocity-iconReciprocity: the social aspects of learning (relating) whereby we learn with and from others.  The disposition is made up of four key muscles:

  • Interdependence: knowing when it’s right to learn with others or when you should be learning alone
  • Collaboration: valuing and respecting other people’s contributions whilst sticking to your own ideas as required. Contributing and adding to the team and remembering that Together Everyone Achieves More
  • Empathy: listening to people, putting yourself in their shoes and showing great emotional intelligence
  • Imitation: learning from those around you and copying their methods, habits and values

At SIJS we add a fifth R to all of the above: Responsibility which is the overarching disposition and mindset essential in nurturing all the other learning muscles.