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Building Learning Power


Our school motto at Miriam Lord Primary School is 'Building Powerful Learners'.  This is more that just a simple tag-line, it represents our entire ethos and approach to learning.  This is because, at Miriam Lord, we use the approach of Building Learning Power to develop independent learners, who love facing a challenge and know a range of different strategies to employ when they become stuck.  The children at the school know that our capacity to learn is limitless, and that by stretching their 'learning muscles' they will become more successful learners in the future.


Guy Claxton, who developed the Building Learning Power approach, suggests there are four learning dispositions:


  • Resilience
  • Resourcefulness
  • Reflectiveness
  • Reciprocity


These dispositions are inherent in all of us.  They are not fixed at birth and can be developed by everyone regardless of 'ability', social background, age or gender. Each of these dispositions can be broken down into different capacities, which we call 'learning muscles'; and we teach children that just like stretching your physical muscles with the right kinds of exercise, we can also develop and stretch our learning muscles in school and in life.  A complete list of our learning muscles can be found below:




Absorption - being absorbed in learning, completely focused and attentive.

Managing Distractions - recognising and reducing distractions to make own 'best' learning environment.

Noticing - noticing important or significant details to succeed in your learning.

Persevering - trying different methods or strategies, keeping going and not giving up.




Revising - being flexible, changing plans when needed, monitoring and reviewing.

Meta-Learning - knowing yourself as a learner, being able to talk about how you learn best.

Planning - thinking about: where you are going, the action you are going to take, time and resources, obstacles.

Distilling - knowing the essential features/information you need to complete a task.




Questioning - asking questions of yourself and others, being curious about the world around you.

Reasoning - being systematic, recognising errors and strengths to make sense of new concepts.

Imagining - using your imagination to understand new experiences and explore unfamiliar learning.

Capitalising - using people, books, the internet and your own experiences in your learning.

Making Links - making connections between what you know and your experiences to understand new ideas better.




Collaborating - respecting and recognising other viewpoints, adding to and drawing from the team's strengths.

Empathy and Listening - listen to others, understanding the viewpoints of others.

Imitating - adopt positive methods, habits or values from people around you.

Interdependence - knowing when to learn on your own or with others. 


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