Burton Borough Learning
The world is changing.
It has been said that we are currently preparing our students for jobs that don’t even exist yet. These same students will typically have had ten different jobs by the time they are 38 years old. Burton Borough Learning is about equipping our young people with the ability to cope with change; to work in teams and providing them with learning activities that demand them to demonstrate resourcefulness and resilience in order to succeed. Burton Borough Learning is distinctive. How?
Developing resilience, resourcefulness and independence
Learning is not always a straightforward process and often involves getting it wrong before getting it right. We say that FAIL is the ‘first attempt in learning’! The Pit is where we set our students a challenging task that demands resourcefulness and resilience for them to complete the task. Instead of a teacher responding immediately to a request for help from a student we may encourage them to C3B4ME – in other words to seek out three sources of support; this might be a poster, a textbook, another student or to look something up on the internet using their mobile phone or I pad. In this way we are encouraging our students to become better independent learners.
Questioning – no hands up!
We also expect all students to be actively participating during whole class questioning and so we ask our teachers not to use the traditional ‘hands up’ routine. Instead we give our students thinking time to consider a question; this allows them time to discuss, rehearse and refine their response with their partners before the teacher often asks a student who is chosen at random to respond. To begin with this can seem a little scary, but students do quickly accept this routine and can see the benefit of this in their learning. The only time for hand up is to ask a question!
At Burton Borough we have our own routines designed to get students engaging with and responding to the feedback that their teachers give them. If we are doing this correctly then feedback should involve far more work for our students than for our teachers! Firstly, teachers will often point out good points in the student’s work, we call this ‘What Went Well’ (WWW). Teachers will then provide comments that demand a response from the student that allow them to ‘Close the Gap’ between the standard of work that the student has completed and the higher quality of work that the teacher considers the student to be capable of. To make this clear, teachers will mark in green ink and the students will respond in red ink; over time, this way of working helps the student to get the very most out of the feedback from their teacher, it improves their rate of progress and yet again, enables them to become a better independent learner.
Our EEL (Extending and Enriching Learning) days are structured to provide our students with exceptional learning experiences that often demand them to work together and to display attributes such as resourcefulness, resilience and independence. On a typical EEL day, our students are likely to learn in teams; to learn in a smaller class; to learn off-site; to get wet or messy; to learn from adults who are not teachers; and more than likely to come home very tired! In 2014-15, Year 7 students took part in a wide variety of activities, often chosen from a list of options. These included activities such as ‘Not for the Squeamish’, ‘Kaboom’, ‘Diary of a Borough Kid’, ‘Recycled Fashion Show’, ‘Cosmetic Chemistry’, ‘Sweet Art’ and ‘Marvelous, Magical Machines’.
Burton Borough learning also reflects our status as an Arts College. Our students are more likely than most to have music in their lessons to aid their learning and to motivate, inspire, calm or provoke their learning. All students are specifically taught about the influence that music will have on their learning; this is especially important at Key Stage 4 when all of our students receive a CD called the Mozart Effect to help them to revise.
The world is changing …… and so is learning at Burton Borough School!