Tony Gurr

LEARNer Engagement in a Culture of LEARNacy (Part 05)

In Classroom Teaching, Our Schools, Our Universities on 14/09/2012 at 4:45 pm

Krissy’s wonderful image…sums up why all is not so well in Denmark. 


It’s true, we have been able to create a fair few LEARNacy Zones in many classrooms, in many schools…even a few universities…

…but as I noted in Part 04 of this series:


Do you remember Part 02?

You know…I asked you all a few questions – and three of my favourites were:

…a lot of you “passed”, by the way!


An old friend got me a note (not to thank me for the questions – he’s always telling me that I need to give more “answers” than “questions”…but we agree to disagree on that).

What he said was quite interesting:

The funny thing is…that most us would never have come across questions like this 25-30 years ago. We just didn’t do much of that kind of thunking in teaching then…!

He went on:

…I showed the questions to a few teachers in our staff room…many of them answered “NO”…and said you are a total LEARNatic…and not in the nice sense!

As I have said before – WE can’t win ‘em all!


The issue is, of course, what happens to a student that walks out of “Classroom B” (after a really engaging lesson…with a thunking TEACHer) and has to do a “double” in “Classroom A”…with you-know-who! 

In Part 02, I asked the question: 

…but surely the more important questions are: 

  • What are the consequences of this on the LEARNacy of individual LEARNers?
  • What are the consequences of doing nothing about this?
  • What are the consequences…?


For sure…advances in psychology, cognitive science and neuroscience have picked up the pace of our thunking over the last decade…but, in essence, education has been witness to a broader paradigm shift in how we approach TEACHing and LEARNing for much longer…so much so that many of us now prefer to talk of LEARNing and TEACHing!

Indeed, TEACHing itself has become redefined as the “facilitation of LEARNing” and we now routinely talk of LEARNing outcomes – rather than just delivering “CONTENT”. Further, over the last 25-30 years, LEARNers have become of central importance – as have the motives, activities and feelings of individual LEARNers.

We have made huge steps in helping LEARNers become “insiders”insiders in their own LEARNing…

 …I’m thinking you “feel” me!


There are many out there (Bill Gates and Chris Woodhead should really “do coffee” some time) who see “bad TEACHers” at the root of all these woes…however, it’s much more likely that many TEACHers are “poor consumers” of LEARNing

The thing is…just as LEARNers need to exercise their LEARNing muscles in a LEARNing gymnasiumso do TEACHers… 


…it’s not as if most TEACHers aren’t trying! 

 Why else would TEACHers… 

The list goes on…


Yes, of course, there are those in “the teaching game” who are in it for the regular paycheck…or because they can’t see any other alternatives.

But, these are in the minority…

If we now recognise that LEARNers need Julia and Jean’s 3Rs and 3Cs, surely it’s not too much of a stretch to see how TEACHers might need these things, too? Surely, in developing a true Culture of LEARNacy – we have to emphasize TEACHer Engagement and much as we do LEARNer Engagement?


Guy Claxton talks of the need to create a classroom climate and culture that actively builds the LEARNing Power and the innate LEARNing dispositions and capabilities that all kids have.

What happens when: 

  • …we have school climates that do not emphasise TEACHer LEARNing or meaningful improvement in how TEACHers might expand and improve student LEARNing? 
  • …we have school leaders that create a stressful climate based on the fear of failure (and play “the blame game”)? 
  • …we have national educational agendas based on the whims of politicians and their “examocrat buddies” or so-called “educational reformers” (who couldn’t even spell LEARNacy, if you paid them – and we do)?

I’ll tell you:

Dream much, Tony…?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: