In 1999 I wrote a book called Wise Up: Learning to Live the Learning Life (published by Bloomsbury / Network Press), in which I reviewed the growing evidence for the idea that people could be helped to become more effective learners. In 2001 I was approached by Bristol-based educational publisher TLO Ltd to write a book for teachers that drew out the practical implications, and in 2002 Building Learning Power: Helping Young People Become Better Learners, was published. In the box below are some of the enthusiastic reactions to that book.
Over the ensuing 12 years, Building Learning Power – BLP – has mushroomed into a national and international ‘brand’. My friends at TLO have developed a range of materials, courses and forms of consultancy that have proved very successful in helping teachers develop a ‘learning to learn’ culture in their classrooms and schools. BLP embodies what we call the 4th generation approach to learning to learn. It doesn’t just add a few tips and techniques; it systematically helps students develop the general habits of mind that underpin confident, curious, creative learning. The BLP approach is now in thousands of schools and local authorities around the UK, as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Chile and Argentina. Week by week we are gathering stronger evidence that it works, as well as practical new ideas for teachers to use.
There are now four more publications, in addition to the original BLP book. Building 101 Ways to Learning Power is a practical workbook for schools and teachers to help them master the key ideas. Building Learning Power in Action gives a host of practical examples of how schools are making use of the BLP framework. Learning to Learn: The Fourth Generation shows how BLP improves on earlier approaches to Learning to Learn, and also how it dovetails with national agendas such as Personalised Learning and Every Child Matters. And Learning Power Heroes, written by TLO’s Maryl chambers and two wonderfully imaginative primary teachers, Leanne Day and Raegan Delaney, shows how schools can help children understand the learning capacities by embodying them in real ‘heroes’.
We are currently working on a book that describes the journey schools go through as they embed BLP in their everyday habits and practices. Entitled Building the Learning Powered School, this book will be published in 2011.
We have also developed a suite of quizzes that help students and their teachers monitor their progress as they develop their learning power. For more information about this and how to order books and make enquiries, go to www.buildinglearningpower.co.uk