High Performance Learning

The Key Pillars of High Performance Learning

I recently met a Head of a School of a leading education group in Dubai and was very impressed by her belief that all students can be high achievers regardless of their academic starting points.

When I asked her how, she mentioned it is through engaging in world class lessons, delivered by world class teachers who systematically and consciously use current pedagogy and High Performance Learning (HPL) strategies. She mentioned to me that all students can be high performers when every educator believes in the potential of each learner and teaches with this expectation at the forefront of their minds, and that all students can achieve, with practice and perseverance and regular reminders.

As I walked around the school, it was so very evident that HPL was truly becoming a part of the school’s learning culture; from the children articulating their learning in the classroom, to children working collaboratively and engaging in creative and critical thinking tasks across all areas of learning. The school ensured that they recognise and nurture every individual student's potential. I decided to observe one of the lessons in the classroom and it was wonderful to see how HPL was embedded through carefully planned lessons which incorporate the 5 Advanced Cognitive Performance Characteristics (ACPs) or as the children understand them as ‘The 5 learning brains’: Meta-cognition Brain, Linking Brain, Realising Brain, Creating Brain and Analysing Brain.

There were two more things that impressed me from this visit—one was the Innovative Learning Zones and the other was High Performance Learning Student ambassadors. The innovative learning Zones were very effective in creating impactful learning. It was very interesting to note that the schedule was created by the school’s High Performance Learning Student Ambassadors.

The formula for success


That got me thinking about what is HPL? High Performance Learning is a research-based, pedagogy-led philosophy that responds to our growing understanding of human capability. It normalises high performance for all students and uses a unique teaching and learning framework to systematically develop the cognitive skills, values, attitudes and attributes needed for lifetime success. There are many schools that are using the HPL framework, which is based on the latest research in neuroscience and psychology. By using HPL framework, schools are systematically building the skills and behaviours that are proven to lead a young person to thrive in school and beyond.

Let us look at the benefits of HIGH PERFORMANCE LEARNING:

  1. Encourages students to aim high and believe in the growth of the brain and their ability
  2. Develops intellectual curiosity and confidence to form, shape and express ideas
  3. Develops a love of learning and intrigue through enquiry-based approaches
  4. Provides students with opportunities to solve problems creatively by adapting and improvising aspects of their learning
  5. Instils a desire to embrace challenge and to challenge others
  6. Encourages risk-taking and knowledge that mistakes lead to learning
  7. Encourages self-regulation and reflection to recognise strengths and build on areas of development
  8. Develops active listeners, who can give and receive critical feedback
  9. Teaches students how to critically evaluate sources and draw conclusions
  10. Encourages students to be happy, resilient and confident.

The High Performance Learning approach recognises that all learners have the potential to achieve the very highest results and emphasises and develops the attitudes and performance characteristics required for this to happen. More pupils than we previously thought have the potential to perform at the highest levels. Gifted education tells us exactly how to achieve this. There really is ‘Room at the Top’ if we systematically nurture more children to get there. High Performance Learning theory suggests that most students are capable of achieving the high levels of academic performance once seen as the domain of the very few and that the role of a school is help students make this a reality.

The 7 Pillars of High Performance

There are different ways to make our home a high-performance learning home. Parents need to build resilience in kids at home by helping them believe in themselves, not to be afraid to make mistakes and to keep trying. We need to encourage kids to know how our kids are doing and whether they need to put more effort in any specific area. Encourage our kids to be receptive to ideas that differ from your own. And also make sure that kids practice regularly until they can do it well. We need to develop a spirit of curiosity in our kids by encouraging them to ask questions, by answering questions and working together and independently to find answers to questions.

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