Teaching & Learning Policy

Teaching, Learning, Thinking and Assessment Policy

It is intended that this policy will act as a WORKING DOCUMENT for all stakeholders at Whitley Lodge First School.  It outlines our vision about education, learning, children and our school and it provides clear practical guidance to help deliver a highly effective curriculum.

The overall purpose of this policy is to identify the links between Teaching, Learning, Thinking and Assessment. It will define how lessons are planned, constructed, delivered and assessed to ensure that all children learn effectively.  

This policy operates within the school’s values and beliefs of what The Learning, Environment should be – the ‘Whitley Lodge Learning Lights’.

Guidance is also given on Education Partnership, Curriculum Planning, Summative Assessment, Reporting, Transfer and Transition, Monitoring and Evaluation, S.E.N.D and Gifted and Talented Provision.

The Learning Environment– ‘Whitley Lodge Learning Lights’.

At WLFS we aim to provide a climate for effective learning highlighted in a series of ‘Learning Lights’.

Learning is state of mind dependent.
Learning should be brain and child friendly.
Every child has an individual learning style.
Intelligence comes in many forms.
Thinking skills support active learning.
Assessment FOR Learning develops independent learners
Attitudes to learning are important.

Learning is state of mind dependent

For children to learn effectively they have to be in the right state of mind.  They need to be RAMP-ant Relaxed, Alert, Motivated and Positive. Getting children to this state of mind is a prerequisite to effective learning.

Children learn best when they feel physically and emotionally safe and secure.

The learning brain is alert (it has had sufficient sleep) and works within its attention span. It is attentive, it can see the relevance of the knowledge, and skill or understanding it is being asked to develop.

The child can clearly see the usefulness of the skill it is being asked to develop in its present or immediate or future life.

The child has high self-esteem. He/she believes in their ability to undertake the task. They see themselves as able and successful learners.

At WLFS we aim to get children in the right state of mind in the following ways:

  • Developing the role of movement in learning - use of Brain Gym activities.
  • Encouraging the drinking of plain water throughout the school day.
  • Promoting healthy eating.
  • Promoting use of music in learning.
  • Using appropriate choice of language to promote learning.
  • Promoting emotional well-being through Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education and SEAL. 

Learning should be brain and child friendly
  • Information is presented in short spurts (A child’s attention span = age in minutes approx).
  • The knowledge skill or understanding the brain is being asked to develop is useful and relevant.
  • The lesson ensures progression by building upon previous learning.
  • The learning experience is high stimulation and multi- sensory - See, Hear, Do.
  • The experience is as REAL as possible.
  • The experience has a novelty and newness.
  • The children are challenged but confident they can achieve.
  • The lesson engages the children’s emotions.
  • The children receive feedback and can see, within the lesson, that they have
  • made progress/achieved the learning intentions.
  • The key words and concepts within the lesson are reviewed several times
  • during the lesson and subsequently.
  • Children are given an opportunity to use and apply their newly acquired skill
    or knowledge in a REAL way.

Every child has an individual learning style

At WLFS teaching takes into account and caters for the different ways in which children learn. Visual learners prefer the stimulus of picture and the written word. Auditory learners prefer the stimulus of the spoken word and sound effects. Whilst kinaesthetic learners need to learn non-verbally by practical, hands on tasks, role-play and drama.

At WLFS we provide opportunities for all learners to access the curriculum by planning a wide range of activities and delivery methods to cater for all learners and all intelligences. 
Howard Gardner’s research indicates that intelligence comes in many forms. He identifies eight main intelligences:

Logical Mathematical: relating to maths, the use of numbers and logic.
Linguistic: the use of language – spoken and written.
Bodily/kinaesthetic: movement and the controlled use of the body.
Musical: sensitive to and production of musical sounds and rhythms.
Visual Spatial: the visualisation and manipulation of 2D and 3D images.
Inter personal: understanding of and effective interaction with people.
Intra personal: knowledge and control of self.
Naturalist: sensitivity to/ understanding of nature and the environment.

Thinking skills supports active learning

Developing thinking skills is supported by theories of cognition that see learners as active creators of knowledge and understanding. Learners actively make meaning by constructing ideas and making connections. A focus on thinking skills supports this. It helps children to go beyond the information given, to deal systematically with problems and to develop a critical attitude to information as well to communicate effectively. We give learners time and opportunity to talk about thinking processes, to make their own thought processes more explicit and to reflect on their strategies. New knowledge and strategies for thinking are developed in the classroom not only through teacher instruction but through practical activities, dialogue, reflection and discussion with peers and adults.  
In our classrooms we create a climate where talking and thinking – questioning, predicting, contradicting, doubting – is actively pursued.

At WLFS we achieve this by using strategies described in ‘The Magenta Principles’ (Mike Hughes).
Reduce Change Replace Add Arrange
 Connect Assemble Classify Compare Sequence.