March 2014

ELLI teachers’ workshop, Marjon January 2014

Having only been a member of the Vital Partnerships team for a short time, it was not until the end of January that I attended my first ELLI workshop for teachers at the University of St Mark and St John (“Marjon”) in Plymouth. It was a fantastic and inspiring couple of days led by two of our very experienced consultants, Mannie Burn and Bill Houldsworth, who made a great training duo (a ‘dream team’!). We also had an excellent host in Marjon and the training space was fantastic. The participants were teachers from seven primary schools in the South West and Sweden plussome staff from the University which meant that there was both peer learning and cross-cultural sharing of experiences and ideas.

The first day explored the Seven Dimensions of Learning Power, understanding what makes aneffective learner and the research behind ELLI and the language of learning. The workshopwas very experiential and participants were encouraged to draw upon and share their ownexperiences as learners, often working in small groups and then sharing with the group as a whole.

Participants took the ELLI survey and working in pairs shared their spidergrams and coached and mentored one another, asking their partners questions to encourage and elicit deeper self-reflection. Mannie was always on hand to listen, guide and support as participants considered their surveys and dealt with any revelations! It was all good practice, giving the participants the insights and tools necessary to take ELLI into their classrooms. Participants were also asked to look at a dimension of learning power that was of notable importance to them and explore it further by creating a picture or a model. Some found this exercise quite challenging (in terms of both the self analysis and having to create something to represent their findings!) but everyone produced something quite wonderful and had a great insight and story to share.

The second day focussed on strategies to increase learning power in the participants’ schools and also looked at the practical matters concerning ELLI online. Groups of teachers worked on topics that were important to them, such as focussing on a particular learning dimension, or devising strategies for a particular group of their pupils. By the end of the day, participants left the workshop not only refreshed, invigorated and inspired, but confident and equipped to take ELLI into their schools.

We hope to return to Marjon again soon…