There is an organisation based at the Innovation Centre at the Bristol and Bath Science Park called ELLI whose mission is to help people in schools, colleges, universities and businesses, from all over the world, to learn to be the best they could possibly be, whatever their age or stage in life. They do this by teaching The EFFECTIVE LIFELONG LEARNING INVENTORY. You can find them online at elli.global
As far as I understand it, there are 7 parts, or dimensions that they have established that make people effective lifelong learners. These are; (and I quote from the learning partnership.com
- Changing and Learning– A sense of myself as someone who learns and changes over time.
- Critical Curiosity- An orientation to want to ‘get beneath the surface’
- Meaning Making – Making connections and seeing that learning ‘matters to me’
- Creativity – Risk-taking, playfulness, imagination and intuition.
- Interdependence – Learning with and from others and also able to manage without them.
- Strategic awareness – Being aware of my thoughts, feelings and actions as a learner and able to use that awareness to manage learning processes
- Resilience – The readiness to persevere in development of my own learning power.
At Ashley Down Primary school they have embodied these personal skills into 7 different characters.
- A Flexible Cameleon, who understands how to change and learn.
- A Curious Cat, who has critical curiosity.
- A Linking Spider, who understands meaning making.
- A Creative Unicorn, the creative one
- A Busy Bee, who is interdependent
- A Planning Owl, who has got the strategic awareness, and
- A Stickability Tortoise, who knows how to persevere.
If you look at the picture above you’ll see there are two additional characters, an elephant called Elli and a Toucan. Now if I’ve got it right, These characters are used in a story context, Toucan and Elli being the protagonist and companion and they meet all the other characters on their adventures, and the various skills they learn from them enable them to succeed on their quests. Nice!
A teacher at the school called Steve Lewis suggested that it might be good to have these characters on the school playground wall. I think this is a great idea. I think it could be really effective if the characters were painted in situations that clearly demonstrated their individual skills, in a way that the kids could understand and find memorable. How to do this deserves some careful thought, experimentation and consultation with the children of the school as we can be sure there will be some clear opinions about exactly how a unicorn can be creative, and an owl plans.