A Hero's Journey
Personal Learning and Thinking Skills
At St Margaret’s an area of school development last year had been to focus on developing pupils’ learning and thinking skills.
We decided that we would use the idea of the Hero’s Journey to promote and develop personal learning and thinking skills. Pupils were introduced to the Hero’s Journey through film; in KS1 ‘Finding Nemo’ and KS2 ‘The Wizard of OZ’. Through analysis of the films pupils were introduced to the idea of the stages in the Hero’s Journey.
The Hero's Journey Outline
The Hero’s Journey is a pattern of narrative identified by the American scholar Joseph Campbell that appears in drama, storytelling, myth, religious ritual, and psychological development. It describes the typical adventure of the archetype known as The Hero, the person who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe, or civilization.
Its stages are:
1. THE ORDINARY WORLD. The hero, uneasy, uncomfortable or unaware, is introduced sympathetically so the audience can identify with the situation or dilemma. The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history. Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress.
2. THE CALL TO ADVENTURE. Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change.
3. REFUSAL OF THE CALL. The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly. Alternately, another character may express the uncertainty and danger ahead.
4. CROSSING THE THRESHOLD. At the end of Act One, the hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values.
5. THE PATH OF TRIALS. The hero is tested and sorts out allegiances in the Special World.
6. RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR. The hero returns home or continues the journey, bearing some element of the treasure that has the power to transform the world as the hero has been transformed.
Pupils were then introduced to the Hero’s Journey in this linear form and the skills and attributes necessary to be successful in this journey. Bravery, Energy, Creativity, Openness and Motivation, all leading to Empowerment. Pupils plotted each story against this line, identifying when the Hero demonstrated these skills.
St Margaret's C of E Primary School
A Place to B.E.C.O.M.E.
At St Margaret’s we are committed to providing children with an understanding of how learning occurs (metacognitive skills). These skills are necessary for children to become independent and reflective learners who are able to understand how they learn and what helps them in their learning.
We display the acronym B.E.C.O.M.E in all classrooms positioned on a Learning Line representing the ‘Learning Journey’.
The classroom boards are used to celebrate achievements and demonstrations of our B.E.C.O.M.E skills:
Bravery- ‘we take on new challenges’ ‘we have the confidence to have a go.’
Energy- ‘we work hard on task’ ‘we listen well and ask questions.’
Creativity- ‘we come up with our own ideas’ ‘we find different ways of doing things.’
Openness- ‘we work well with others’ ‘we share ideas’ ‘we care for one another.’
Motivation- ‘we look for ways to improve our work’ ‘we look for opportunities to learn more.’
Empowerment- ‘we are confident in using new skills and knowledge’ ‘we show leadership in school.’
B = Bravery
We try new things
We are not afraid of new challenges
We will take risks
We make suggestions and share ideas
We have a ‘can do’ attitude
E = Energy
We work hard and stay on task
We listen well and understand what we need to do
We ask questions about our learning
We can explain what we are learning
We know what to do when we need help
We can use what we already know to get us started
C = Creativity
We come up with ideas and share them
We make connections in our learning
We ask questions to extend our thinking
We can try more than one way to solve a problem
We make choices about how to present our learning
We ‘think outside the box’
O = Openness
We work well with others sharing ideas
We ask questions in response to other people’s ideas
We can respond positively to what others say about our learning
We can give others feedback to support their learning
We contribute positively to school
M = Motivation
We enjoy challenges
We add to our learning outside school
We know our targets and next steps in learning
We look for ways to improve what we have done
We are responsible for our own learning
E = Empowerment
We have new skills and knowledge
We are confident in moving forward in our learning journey
Reflection and the B.E.C.O.M.E. Journal
Each week children reflect on the B.E.C.O.M.E skills they have demonstrated, recording their thoughts in their B.E.C.O.M.E journal. Our reward system in class, through the use of Class Dojo, is also based on these skills being demonstrated and thus celebrated. These ‘Dojo Points’ are available to be viewed by parents via the Class Dojo App, and show a break-down of the skills individual children have demonstrated.
B.E.C.O.M.E skills are also promoted through our curriculum. Our topic based learning has within it a focus on personal and social competencies. These include improving one’s own learning and performance through reflection and evaluation, developing independence and responsibility both individual and collective and learning with others, through collaborative learning.
The Aims of Promoting B.E.C.O.M.E.
Increased academic performance.
Increased motivation and confidence of children and an ability for them to engage in lifelong learning.
Allowing children to become more aware of and better able to manage their limitations.
Enabling teachers to plan learning activities which promote these vital skills.