The Learning Jungle

When we began our metacognition journey, we discussed as a staff, which attributes contributed to being an effective learner.  We examined research from a range of sources including Guy Claxton’s dispositions (2002), Costa and Kallick’s Habits of Mind (2008) and Chris Quigley’s Secrets of Success (2010).  We then identified key behaviours we wanted to encourage our children to develop.

The idea of the Learning Jungle was created in conjunction with the children.  The children were asked to reflect upon how they could illustrate learning. I explained that learning was a complex process and that I wanted to develop an approach to learning that all children and staff would understand. The children discussed and debated their ideas.

The idea of a Learning Jungle with animals as characters, which represented the learning powers, was popular amongst the children. The idea of a jungle creates an image of something that is complicated and challenging. Learning can then be envisaged as the creation of a path through the jungle that learners travel on, with barriers and challenges along that path, which the learner has to navigate. The animals represent the learning powers that support the development of effective learners, who can overcome barriers and rise to the challenges.

Overview of characters and learning powers

The Learning Jungle consists of five animals, each representing a learning power.  Each learning powers is directly taught through lessons, assemblies and classroom culture.  The children easily relate to the different characters, their individual stories and behaviours.

Kelly the koala -To be curious

  • Asks questions
  • Notices things
  • Looks for patterns and connections
  • Thinks of possible reasons
  • Researches
  • Ponders – What if…?

Emily the elephant- To concentrate

  • Manage distractions
  • Gets losts in their learning
  • Breaks things down into smaller steps
  • Focuses on one thing at a time
  • Looks for patterns and connections
  • Plans and thinks things through
  • Jot things down to help you think

Albert the armadillo  – To be resilient

  • Doesn’t worry if it goes wrong
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Is excited to try new things

Sadie the squirrel -To co-operate

  • Listens to others
  • Explains things to help others
  • Is kind when you disagree
  • Tolerant
  • Works together to…

The monkeys -To self-improve/continuously improve

  • Keep reviewing your learning
  • Improve one thing first
  • Try to be better than last time
  • Take small steps
  • Don’t compare yourself to anybody else

An overview of The Learning Jungle including a description of the animals’ learning powers can be downloaded here.