All Year 7 students have one lesson of Enrichment as part of their weekly timetable. In this Enrichment slot, a team of five teachers deliver the Year 7 Challenge Curriculum.
The purpose of the Challenge programme is to help our new students to learn how to be the best learners they can be. Rather than focusing on a specific subject area or body of knowledge, we work to cultivate the habits and behaviours of successful learning. In particular, we want our students to be creative and independent in their approach to learning, to relish challenge, to reject easy answers and to embrace uncertainty and calculated risk-taking as necessary parts of the learning process.
This curriculum began its life at JCG in 2012 and it draws upon the research and educational philosophy of Guy Claxton, Professor of the Learning Sciences at the University of Winchester. Claxton’s work provides us with a framework, under the name Building Learning Power, for describing the key dispositions and capacities that constitute effective learning, both in school and beyond in the complex, fluctuating real-world learning contexts of the twenty first century.
Four key dispositions (resilience, resourcefulness, reflectiveness and reciprocity) comprise the emotional, cognitive, strategic and social aspects of learning and are each divided into specific capacities such as ‘managing distractions’, ‘questioning’, ‘planning’ and ‘collaboration’. As students work with this vocabulary and target specific learning capacities for further development, they become increasingly self-conscious about themselves as learners and better able to focus their attention on skills and behaviours that will help them in all areas of their learning.
Each half-term, the weekly enrichment lesson is devoted to a particular challenge. These innovative projects are designed explicitly to foster all of the learning capacities and cover a wide range of exciting and demanding activities. Students begin with compiling a learning portfolio to track their use of the learning capacities across different lessons and move on to projects that include organising a charity ‘fair’ and filming their own tv programme.
Further details are available from Miss David ([email protected])