HPL – Top Tips for Parents

Week 1

As a High Performance Learning Pathway School we will be sharing with you “Top Tips” on how you can support you child/ren with developing the High Performance Learning skills at home.
There are 30 of these skills broken down into the two categories of Advanced Cognitive Performance Characteristics (ACPs) and Values, Attitudes and Attributes (VAAs).
This week we look at the VAA of being Open Minded (The ability to take an objective view of different ideas and beliefs; becoming more receptive to other ideas and beliefs based on the arguments of others; change ideas should there be compelling evidence to do so)

Top Tips on…..Being Open-Minded

  1. Model being open-minded yourself
  2. With younger children try new activities and experiences, giving them opportunities to broaden their interests
  3. With older children you could encourage them to debate things that they dislike. By providing alternative views or suggestions they are exposed to different views that can make them thing about the opinions of others
  4. Watch programmes together which articulate responses to different questions e.g. The Big Questions on BBC1
  5. Choose current news issues to debate and discuss. Make this into an activity where you make a point and they have to provide a counter argument and vice versa


Week 2

This week we look at the VAA of being Enquiring (The ability to be curious; be willing to work alone; be proactive; keen to learn; show enterprise; think independently; challenge assumptions and require evidence for assertions; actively control your own learning; move on from the absorption of knowledge and procedures to develop your own views and solutions)

Top Tips on…..Being Enquiring

  1. Model being enquiring yourself
  2. Encourage children to ask questions
  3. Encourage childrens’ curiosity. Consider asking your child to become an ‘expert’ in a specific thing and tell you all about it. It may be something they are already interested in or something new. This encourages them to be independent in their research – perhaps they could present it to you.
  4. Encourage interests that model total concentration e.g. making  a model aeroplane from a kit, painting a picture, getting balls into a net
  5. How about choosing a new interest to you and your child/ren. Something that you are both interested in but don’t now a great deal about. Complete a joint project and finish it with a related event e.g. finding out more about film making and having a movie night; finding out about the development of trains and going on a train ride.

    Week 3

This week we look at the VAA of being Confident (The ability to develop a belief in your knowledge, understanding and action; recognise when you need to change your beliefs based upon additional information or the arguments of others; deal with new challenges and situations, including when this places you under stress)

Top Tips on…..Being Confident

  1. Model being confident yourself
  2. Encourage and emphasise the HPL philosophy ‘ that learning can be a struggle, but is not permanent’ and that ‘everyone has the potential to be a high performing learner’. In this way you are encouraging a child to keep trying and thus improve their confidence
  3. A person with intellectual confidence thinks: “I can do this. I will get there. It’s hard but I will keep going”. Be sure to model this approach at home with everyday things that you have to tackle.
  4. Praise effort
  5. Don’t do things for your child that they can learn how to do. Children need to understand that they have the potential and the power to do things for themselves. It is in exploring this power that they learn.

Week 4

This week we look at the VAA of being Concerned for Society (The ability to understand the contribution you can make to society to the benefit of those less fortunate than you are; demonstrate citizenship and a sense of community ethos; recognize differences as well as similarities between people and peoples; be aware of your own and others’ cultural heritage and be sensitive to the ethical and moral issues raised by learning)

Top Tips on…..Being Concerned for Society

  1. Model showing concern for society
  2. Encourage an interest in what is going on in the world and talk about events. Inevitably, the majority of news stories involve the need for concern for others
  3. Encourage care and compassion at home and consider ways in which this can become outreach to the local, national and international community.
  4. Consider the opportunities to discuss and act on issues which require caring more for society e.g. signing petitions regarding environmental issues
  5. Consider the impact that loneliness can have on people. Encourage a discussion on this and how at work/school we can reach out to those who may benefit from our friendship and company.

Week 5

This week we look at the VAA of Risk-taking (The ability to demonstrate confidence; experiment with novel ideas and effects; speculate willingly; work in unfamiliar contexts; avoid coming to premature conclusions; tolerate uncertainty)

Top Tips on…..Risk-taking

  1. Model the belief that you and your children are capable learners
  2. Talk about decisions that you have made that went well and those that went not so well and why
  3. Play games that encourage them to take risks (not physical ones!) e.g ‘Risk’
  4. Intellectual risk-taking is a high order skill. It is about taking a considered approach to something – not a rash one. Consider opportunities that allow for risk so that there can be greater progress in learning e.g. how to make good decisions – provide scenarios and talk these through
  5. Take a current news issue and speculate on it. Talk through your speculation demonstrating that you are considering a range of views. Encourage your child to do the same. What is the speculation built on?

Week 6

This week we look at the VAA of Resilience (The ability to overcome setbacks; remain confident, focused, flexible and optimistic; help others to move forward in the face of adversity)

Top Tips on…..Resilience

  1. Model the belief that you are resilient
  2. Talk about situations that may arise that require you to be resilient
  3. Don’t be too quick to solve their problems. Remember that making mistakes is all part of the learning process. Reflecting on something that went wrong and talking through how they might do it differently next time helps to build resilience
  4. Recognising and rewarding children when they do suffer setbacks is crucial to developing resilience. Sometime we hang back with our congratulations until our child/ren have completed something successfully. Being vigilant of the steps they have taken along the way is just as vital to building up this skill
  5. Try to model optimism – crucial for resilience

Week 7

This fortnight we look at the ACP of Big Picture Thinking (The ability to work with big ideas and holistic concepts)

Top Tips on…..Big Picture Thinking

  1. Model the belief that you ‘think big’
  2. Talk about their learning in and out of school but specifically how it relates to the wider world e.g we are learning about angles and this could relate to the construction of a house
  3. Start conversations with ….”What would happen if…..”
  4. Use the image of a ‘bird’s eye view’ to get them to think bigger than the moment that they are in
  5. Come up with a ‘what if/where do/how come’ style question that you want them to find out about – set them a challenge. So, where do snowflakes come from? What if the sky was always cloudy?

Week 8

This fortnight we look at the ACP of Imagination (The ability to represent the problem and its categorisation in relation to more extensive and interconnected prior knowledge).

Top Tips on…..Imagination

  1. Take opportunities to use imaginative play
  2. Conversations that encourage a more creative response e.g how would you go about weighing a house?
  3. Consider ways to be more creative and encourage curiosity. Take something ‘everyday’ that you can find out more about – set a challenge; who can discover the most obscure fact
  4. Provide an answer; what is the most creative question you can come up with that would have that answer.
  5. Ask where they use their imaginations the most. Is it in a particular subject? Can your child/ren explain to you how and why they use their imagination here – what does it look like?

Week 9

This fortnight we look at the ACP of Seeing alternative perspectives (The ability to take on the views of others and deal with complexity and ambiguity).

Top Tips on…..Seeing alternative perspectives

  1. Conversations that encourage an alternative view. Point out that it may not be your own personal view but how could someone else view the same situation differently?
  2. Imagine being a reporter asking questions to understand someone’s point of view on an issue
  3. Consider a current news issue – how could the same issue be viewed in different ways? Be deliberately challenging to see how well alternative perspectives can be explained
  4. Discuss the important of taking on the views of others – why should we do this? Consider ‘life situations’ where this is vital.
  5. Ask about subjects they study that explore alternative perspectives. Can they provide specific examples and what does this skill bring to their understanding?

Week 10

This fortnight we look at the VAA of Collaboration (The ability to seek out what people think about your work; present your views clearly and concisely; listen to and hear the views of others; be willing and able to work in teams; assume a variety of different roles and be able to evaluate your own  ideas and contributions).

Top Tips on…..Collaboration

  1. Encourage the habit of explaining to you what they are doing and why. This also helps abstract thinking
  2. Comment positively and constructively on what they are doing – this will make it easier for them to share thoughts with confidence
  3. Encourage working in teams by taking part in activities together e.g. sport
  4. Discuss how in ‘real life’ situations people work together – discuss the good it brings. Current news stories can be useful here.
  5. Discuss how you work collaboratively in your own life e.g work/ as part of a team. Drawing a diagram of how business/institutions work based on collaboration can provide interesting discussions

Week 11

This fortnight we look at the ACP of Fluent Thinking (The ability to generate ideas )

Top Tips on…..Fluent Thinking

  1. Encourage the rethinking of ideas, so not settling for the first idea as thinking this is the best one.
  2. Encourage listening to others in order to collaborate on ideas e.g. brainstorming
  3. Encourage independent brainstorming – recent research is suggesting that this is most productive
  4. Encourage your child to come up with as many answers to the same question as they can
  5. Discuss how you generate ideas when faced with different situations at work or at home

Week 12

This fortnight we look at the ACP of Originality (The ability to conceive something entirely new )

Top Tips on…..Originality

  1. Encourage confidence in new ideas
  2. Ask questions that are open-ended so that you can consider together if there is another way to solve a problem
  3. Explore together the history of an invention. How has it come to be the way it is? How has someone added to an idea to make it their own or make it different?
  4. Try to design something together- this could be anything. At each point along a design process stop and think about how it could be better.
  5. Ask to read your child’s classwork/homework and discuss how it may be presented/produced by others in a different way

Week 13

This fortnight we look at the ACP of Evolutionary & Revolutionary Thinking  (The ability to create new ideas through building on existing ideas or diverting from them)

Top Tips on….. Evolutionary & Revolutionary Thinking

    1. Encourage conversations that start with “I wonder what would happen if?” or “What would it look/sound/feel like if you created..?!”
    2. Explore new ideas together by trying to come up with a unique invention or further developing something that already exists. What improvements/modifications could you make to something?
    3. Research someone that has been innovative or diverted away from existing ideas. Someone like Heston Blumethal for example, who is more revolutionary in his cooking than most by incorporating a scientific approach to his methods
    4. Encourage confidence in giving new ideas a go! Part of what it is to be a high performer is seeing how ideas can flourish and develop; often something like a visual organiser or diagram can help someone to see their ideas and next steps in their thinking
    5. Encourage entries into the Word of the Week. How can the word be used in different ways/contexts

Week 14

This fortnight we look at the ACP of Generalisation  (The ability to see how what is happening in this instance could be extrapolated to other similar situations)

Top Tips on….. Generalisation

      1. Encourage conversations that start with “Remember when… you did this….you saw that”
      2. In pieces of new learning ask questions around similarity. “So, does this seem similar to something else you have learnt/done and could this work again this time round?”
      3. Always consider how their learning in school can be relevant to something outside school. What are the rules that have been learned previously and how can we use these for something else?
      4. As well as spotting similarities, encourage conversations around differences. Key to improving the ability to generalise is as much about difference as it is similarity. And so, in pieces of new learning highlight what is different in comparison to a previous topic or what is different about a skill or approach.
      5. Ask about techniques for answering particular types of question, for example, what would we include in a question that asks for knowledge and understanding? How about a question that asks you to analyse and evaluate?

Week 15

This fortnight we look at the ACP of Connection Finding  (The ability to use connections from past experiences to see possible generalisations)

Top Tips on….. Connection Finding

  1. Ask questions that look to joining current learning with past learning “is this similar to something you have done before” “what does this remind you of?”
  2. Play the six degrees of separation game. In six connections can you link a school with a car
  3. Take part in any two activities together and discuss what they have in common. E.g read a newspaper article and cook a meal – what could be common links between these things, consider the process which you go through to produce both of these things for example
  4. Past and present. Choose a significant event in History. Discuss how that event has shaped the world/society in which we live
  5. Watch the programme Only Connect and create your own connect wall. Complete a subject based one and give it to your teacher to complete! Can they guess the connections?

Week 16

This fortnight we look at the ACP of Strategy Planning  (The ability to approach new learning experiences by actively attempting to connect it to existing knowledge or concepts and hence determine an appropriate way to think about the work ability to articulate persona views based on evidence)

Top Tips on….. Strategy Planning

  1. Choose any task or event (fictional or otherwise) and ask your child to hypothetically plan for it. What is their approach?
  2. Share your own approach to the same task/event (above) and compare similarities and differences. What has the better strategy? How do you know?
  3. Ask your child complete a mini research project on something they know little about, but interests them. When they tell you about it, or record their findings they will be encouraged to put this new information in a logical/sequential format
  4. Ask your child to articulate how they are going to approach a piece of homework
  5. Play a game of chess (or other strategy focused game) together. Be sure to point out the need to plan strategically to be successful in the game

Week 17

This fortnight we look at the ACP of Complex and multi-step problem solving  (The ability to break down a task, decide on a suitable approach and then act)

Top Tips on….. Complex and multi-step problem solving

  1. Encourage planning for completing tasks. For example, let’s work together to fix the tyre on your bike, what’s the plan? Where do we start? What are the steps?
  2. Make lists. We’re going to do the weekly shop, list what we need. Can you create the list in order of the items in the supermarket?
  3. Create a step-by-step approach to planning for a big event. This could be ‘real life’ but it doesn’t have to be e.g birthday
  4. How would you create instructions to enable someone to play your favourite game if they’ve never played it before?
  5. Create a life size plan for something. Being able to have the space to map out steps can be very useful in enabling a child to think out the steps that are needed for something to happen or something to be achieved. Use images as well as words on your plan.

Week 18

This fortnight we look at the ACP of Flexible Thinking  (The ability to abandon one idea for a superior one or generate multiple solutions)

Top Tips on….. Flexible Thinking

    1. Create a scenario which has a number of different approaches/solutions – discuss which one is best and why
    2. Research someone who has invented something – find out how they adjusted and tweaked their invention to come up with their final product e.g. Dyson who had thousands of prototypes before arriving at the finished product
    3. Ask your child to tell you about a book/computer game/ board game/activity/story that they have read/played/taken part in that has meant they have to make decisions about which path/route to take -ask them to explain why they made that decision above another one – what was their rationale/thinking
    4. Ask your child to reflect on something new they have learnt recently (about anything) and then present their learning in 2 very different formats e.g. a diary entry v an artefact, an essay v an image
    5. Talk to your child about learning requiring us to sometimes abandon ideas and that it is ok to approach learning in different ways or to start again. The importance of being open to a range of possible solutions to a problem or challenge enables us to think more broadly about our learning and in turn, possible solutions.

Week 19

This fortnight we look at the ACP of Automaticity  (The ability to  use some skills with such ease as they no longer require active thinking)

Top Tips on….. Automaticity

  1. Discuss with your child how the process of multi-tasking works – can they explain to you why we are able to do many things at once? Can they give examples of when this happens?
  2. Talk to your child about something you do which does not require active thinking – if you drive, this is a good example. The process that you have gone through in order to learn to drive means that you are able to do many things ‘automatically’ e.g. changing gears, signalling etc
  3. Create a times table competition. Who can get the correct answers in the quickest time? You will find that perhaps some times tables are more embedded or the answers comes more automatically than others. What is it that needs to be done in order to make them all equally automatic?
  4. Talk to your child about a new skill that they would like to learn and how long they think it will take to get to the point of automaticity. Try it!
  5. Talk to your child about some of the things they do which means they operate with some degree of automaticity. Playing games often mean that you are aware of several things at once and operate quickly within this. Many children will be unaware that they are using these skills and may need some prompting to think about how these skills are transferable into their learning in school

Week 20

This fortnight we look at the ACP of Self-regulation  (The ability to  monitor, evaluate and self-correct)

Top Tips on….. Self-regulation 

  1. Choose a piece of homework and have the conversation around the skills they need in order to be able to complete it
  2. Talk to your child how to plan for something – this could be a piece of work or indeed any activity. What do we have to do in order to make sure of the best outcome?
  3. Discuss with your child something that you are currently undertaking at work or at home. Talk about the ways in which you make sure that you are on track to meet your goal/s.
  4. Talk to your child about ways in which they can make sure that they know they are doing something right. What measures do they put in place to check? For example, if they are writing a response to a question/essay do they regularly check back that they are answering the question that has been set for them?
  5. Talk about general strategies that help us in monitoring what we are doing and how, for example, how often do we check with others? Ask the advice of others? Ask for feedback?

Week 21

This fortnight we look at the VAA of Practice  (The ability to  train and prepare through repetition of the same processes in order to become more proficient)

Top Tips on….. Practice 

  1. In order to encourage your child to practice give them small incremental goals to aim for e.g practice writing the opening line to this paragraph until you are completely happy with it, practice two bars of a piece of music before you move on
  2. Discuss/show them examples of those who have achieved great things through deliberate practice
  3. Talk about your own experiences of practice and how you approached this
  4. Plan time for practice. The deliberate intention of practice will ensure that we make time for it! We want it to become part of our routine
  5. Discuss with your child the importance of practicing the things that we are not good at – this is of course how practice works. It is all too easy to practice the things that we are good at. In this way we get better at those things and move forward confidently.

Week 22

This fortnight we look at the VAA of Risk Taking  (The ability to  demonstrate confidence; Experiment with novel ideas and effects; speculate willingly; work in unfamiliar contexts; avoid coming to premature conclusions; tolerate uncertainty.)

Top Tips on….. Risk Taking 

  1. Always encourage confidence in what your child is learning and what they do. Encouraging them to spend time on their learning will in turn lead to greater self-confidence in their understanding
  2. Discuss with your child what it means to make good decisions. Perhaps give some examples in your own life at home or work where you have made a good decision. Ensure that you explain the reasons why
  3. Board games often involve taking a chance or a risk in order to win the game or achieve something. This is often a good way of talking about how decisions are made in a low stakes manner.
  4. Encourage a healthy debate at home on a current issue. Then talk through with your child about whether they hold enough information to present a considered point of view. Talk about how this is important when taking risks
  5. Write down a list of decisions that are made on a daily basis. Take it in turns to pull one out of a hat and then discuss how healthy and considered decisions could be made. What factors are needed in order to do this?

Week 23

This fortnight we look at the VAA of Confident  (The ability to develop a belief in your knowledge, understanding and action; recognise when you need to change your beliefs based upon additional information or the arguments of others; deal with new challenges and situations, including when this places them under stress)

Top Tips on ….. Confident 

  1. Encouraging your child to learn things in small steps can work well to develop confidence. Support them to break down a task/theme/module to enable them to learn in incremental ways
  2. Ask your child to explain their learning/piece of work to you. This will give them a trial run in establishing their confidence in the material
  3. Encourage your child to ask questions both in school and at home. Knowing and understanding more about something (which we gain when we ask questions) goes hand in hand with improving confidence.
  4. Discuss which subjects/topics/themes your child is most confident in and the reasons why. Likewise, discuss the same for being least confident. Consider strategies that work for being more confident and how these can be applied to areas of lesser confidence
  5. Share your own strategies for increasing confidence and how these worked for you in different situations

Week 24

This fortnight we look at the VAA of Enquiring  (The ability to be curious; be willing to work alone; be proactive; keen to learn; show enterprise; think in dependently; challenge assumptions and require evidence for assertions; actively control your own learning; move on from the absorption of knowledge and procedures to develop your own views and solutions)

Top Tips on ….. Enquiring 

  1. Encourage your child to work things out for themselves. There is of course, much to learn through collaboration with others, but the ability to work alone is part of what it means to be enquiring and feeling at ease in doing so
  2. Encourage a healthy debate on a current issue in order that your child has to back up or provide evidence for their opinion or the opinion of others
  3. Consider career paths that involve people working alone or taking part in solitary activities. Discuss why that is the case and why it might be the best approach to that activity
  4. Challenge your child to find out 10 interesting facts on something they know nothing about
  5. Be vigilant to questions and always answer them or point your child in the direction of where to find the answers – soon enough they will be able to do this more and more independently

Week 25

This fortnight we look at the ACP of Meta-Cognition  (The ability to knowingly use a wide range of thinking approaches and to transfer knowledge from one circumstance to other)

Top Tips on ….. Meta-cognition 

  1. Whenever you are supporting your child in learning a new skill, be sure to articulate (out loud) what it is you are doing, how you are approaching the task and the steps you are taking to complete it – and the reasons why!
  2. When approaching a task, start conversations with “Have you done something similar to this before?”
  3. Consider planning something together and taking it in turns to talk about the approach you would take and why
  4. Take a situation and discuss how it could be approached e.g let’s find out about climate change, what do we normally do when we want to learn about something?
  5. Consider an activity where you talk about how you could approach it in a totally different way than you would normally. What would be the positives and negatives of this different approach? Would it work? Why? Why not?