At Hartpury we gem powers to aid learning. This approach focuses children’s minds on key learning behaviours.
The system is the work of Dr Tom Robson a well renowned educationalist who has years of experience working with and investigating the way in which children learn.
For the children they recognise the behaviours as ‘Gem Powers’ and try to display them in all aspects of their work.
The ‘Gem Powers’ are a great way to explain these learning behaviours to the children but they have their roots in actual neurological science:
When children display ‘Ruby Power’ they release serotonin, a chemical in the brain that makes you feel good and relaxed.
The most powerful gem power of all is ‘Diamond Power’. Every time your brain solves a problem a new connection (dendrite) grows. The more connections and dendrites you grow the better your ability to learn and solve problems.
‘Sapphire Power’ is the release of dopamine which helps keep you focused.
Children that display ‘Emerald Power’ are showing that they can control the levels of adrenalin and cortisol – both which can raise levels of anxiety and stress.
Pupils that display 'Amethyst Power' work well with a partner and are able to take turns showing good listening skills.
Finally, 'Topaz' Power' builds on partner work to small group work and encourages good collaboration skills and turn taking.
The effect within school has been fantastic to see. Children both young and old have begun to develop a level of independence not seen before; they strive to ignore ‘monster distractions’ and concentrate on the task in hand; they are beginning to appreciate the power of challenging themselves and learning from their mistakes.
As teachers we too have had to make changes in the way that we manage our classrooms and raise our expectations for the children to meet these new demands.
All in all the project is establishing confident, independent learners that are willing to challenge themselves, support each other and enjoy learning.