A Learning School: some current projects
Mindfulness- building our mindfulness practice
Nrich Project 2018-2020
With work deadlines, to-do lists, competing priorities, family and friend commitments, and pressure to perform, to be having a good time, to be making the right
decisions, our busy lives and workplaces can often mean we feel locked into a cycle of stress, anxiety and a never - ending narrative of ‘ should have, ought to, must do…’, never feeling good enough and always with more to do.
For thousands of people all round the world the practice of mindfulness has been proven to enhance well-being, enable us to be more aware and attentive to our everyday experience and to respond skillfully to whatever is happening. It can build mental resilience and, even in the midst of a frantic world, can enable us to appreciate and savour all those aspects of our life that bring us joy, and to deal with those that we find more challenging.
A group of staff, including teachers and teaching assistants, in partnership with Langdon Park School, are exploring the following themes:
What is mindfulness?
From living on autopilot to living with full awareness
From scattered mind to the cultivation of attention, presence and calm
Freedom from our ‘ mental dramas’
Learning to live with our thoughts and’ mental chatter’
Hooked on distraction –learning to turn toward the difficult, non judgmentally with kindness and curiosity
Learning to tame the ‘inner critic’ and cultivate the ‘ inner mentor’
Learning to respond skillfully and moving away from reactivity
Beyond competitive and comparing mind – befriending our learning and growth and the learning and growth of others
Living with vulnerability and being open to learning
Children’s spoken language skills are one of the strongest predictors of their future life chances, yet too many disadvantaged children arrive at school with poor communication skills, already behind their more advantaged peers. Left unaddressed, this gap grows rather than diminishes.
Teaching oracy can change this and so Blue Gate Fields Junior School is learning more about Oracy through working with partnership schools.
Oracy develops students' confidence, articulacy and capacity to learn. Our staff will understand more, and be enabled to provide a high quality oracy education which empowers students to find their voice for success in school and in life.
Partnership with the Western Norway University of Applied Science
Working alongside teachers in training from Norway, Blue Gate Fields Junior School has shared excellent practice through modelling lessons and sharing good practice in planning and delivering R.E. The school was chosen by the local authority as a school which has participated in the Excellent R.E. Project and Understanding Christianity Course.
Making Music Together
Blue Gate Fields Junior School has worked with Jo Gibson as she researched 'The community musician's role in music-making with participants'.
Building Resilience to Extremism through Enquiry (BREE) Project
Schools have a duty to safeguard children and to help them develop critical thinking in relation to extremism. This is hard to do: these are controversial topics, and discussions need to be well managed.
In this project, teachers are trained to establish a Philosophy for Children (P4C) approach in their classrooms and deliver a carefully designed teaching sequence to build understanding and critical thinking about extremism.
P4C is a globally-established programme which encourages young people to explore challenging issues through discussion. P4C provides a safe space where students can air, examine and challenge views.
During 2018, 45 schools in Greater Manchester, Sheffield, Cumbria and London piloted the project. Teachers and students both strongly endorsed the programme.
Among students at a high school in Bolton:
· 75% said they “now feel more confident to talk about these issues with other people, including friends, teachers and family members”
· 95% said they “recommend that pupils in other schools have opportunities to take part in the same activities”
As a result of our involvement in the project, Blue Gate Fields have designed additional lessons which will be incorporated into the teaching sequence for the BREE programme.
The focus of the programme is to offer the opportunity for teachers to:
Professor Mike Askew
Focus and aims:
The Tower Hamlets Oracy Hub Research Project
What is the impact of dialogic teaching, including a range of oracy teaching and learning strategies, on the spoken communication, reading and writing skills of children in Reception and Year 4?
This research will run over the course of the year and include commitments to collect baseline data, engage in the research; attend research input sessions and involve parents/carers.
Our Y4 team are on board and we will be working with Syeda and four children from her class/literacy group.