High Performance Learning

At GEMS World Academy Abu Dhabi (WAA) we provide a tailor-made, genuinely distinct, and inspiring educational program for every student—a blend that integrates the impactful, extensive, and conceptual elements of the IB framework with the Early Years Foundation Stage and the National Curriculum for England. Using the transformative IB Framework and the High Performance Learning pedagogy we are proud to offer opportunities for profound understanding and skill mastery through student empowerment, innovation, global awareness, and active engagement.

At WAA we take great pride in being part of a network of schools who are part of, or working towards the High Performance Learning World Class School Award. We firmly believe in the potential of every child to attain academic success and lead a life abundant in opportunities and fulfillment, irrespective of their initial circumstances – every student is viewed as a highly capable learner and inquirer!

High Performance Learning is founded on a framework comprising of 30 learning attributes enrich the IB Learner Profile to support student’s ability to articulate how they learn. These attributes, centered on "How we think" (ACPs) and "How we behave" (VAAs), are seamlessly integrated throughout our curriculum.

For those parents who would like to read more about High Performance Learning and how to support their child, we would highly recommend this book. You can also access Professor Deborah Eyre (Founder and Chair of High Performance Learning) introductory video here: https://www.highperformancelearning.co.uk/

  • 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. 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

  • Top Tips on…..Being an Inquirer
    1. Model being an inquirer 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. 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
    6. 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
    7. 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
    8. Challenge your child to find out 10 interesting facts on something they know nothing about
    9. 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
  • Top Tips on ….. Meta-cognition

    The ability to knowingly use a wide range of thinking approaches and to transfer knowledge from one circumstance to other.

    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?
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Top Tips on…..Resilience
    1. Model the belief that you are resilient as an adult
    2. As a family take it in turns to describe a time when you tried something new and found it hard, but kept at it and eventually succeeded. Can you say why you were doing it, what happened, how you felt about it and how you mastered it in the end?
    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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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