Tony Gurr

Posts Tagged ‘building learning power’

LEARNer Engagement in a Culture of LEARNacy (Part 04)

In Classroom Teaching, Our Schools, Our Universities on 14/09/2012 at 12:20 pm

LEARNacy (or the capacity of human beings to LEARN and also LEARN how to get better at LEARNing) is certainly not new – Maria Montessori just “got” it over 100 years ago when she “discovered” that:

…but it was Guy Claxton that gave the idea a “name”.

 

Guy draws heavily on the concept of the LEARNing gymnasium – and the metaphor of sport and exercise. Just as our muscles need exercise – so do our minds.

The four muscles he drills down into are his “4Rs”:

 

…and it is pumping iron in the classroom that can help LEARNers get better at..

 

In truth, although Guy coined the phrase – he does not dwell on it that much (that’s all my “bad” – just a sucker for “sexy” words, I guess). His priority is LEARNing Power – the building of all those innate LEARNing dispositions and capabilities that we all have and the classroom practices that help to cultivate those habits of mind.

His “vision”, if you will is to, is to get this sign:

…into every school and university (OK – that’s just me, again)!

And, by all reports (except those that come from Chris Woodhead’s desk)…he’s done a bloody good job! A lot of dedicated, forward-thunking TEACHers have breathed life into these ideas…and got results!

 

  • Does this mean they “stopped” TEACHing?
  • Does this mean they “threw out” all their CONTENT?
  • Does this mean they went over to the Dark Side?

 

Duh…NOT!

Our kids will always need “great TEACHing” – they will always need “STUFF” that also LEARNs and ENGAGEs them…we just need to restore “greater balance” (…to the Force, Luke)!

 

Oh, yesand before I forget (again)…

Yes, I was supposed to use this in Part 03!

Mmmmmm…

…YOU just had to know something like this was coming…

 

All is still not well in the state of Denmarkbut more on that in Part 05!

 

REAL Learning…

In The Paradigm Debate on 17/02/2011 at 9:36 am

A confession – I have been a bit of a “groupie” for the past few years!

When I read that it was “time” to leave behind the “old 4Rs” of education (Remembering, Reasoning, Reciting and Regurgitating) and get busy with the “new 4Rs” (Resilience, Resourcefulness, Reflectiveness and Reciprocy) – I realized that Guy Claxton had said in only 8 words what I had spent thousands of pages trying to get across to people!

Claxton is highly critical of the way we “do business” in our schools today – and his mission is essentially all about narrowing the gap between the way learning is “done” in schools, and the way it is done in the “real world”.

He breathes life into the type of learning Carl Rogers always talked about:

I want to talk about learning. But not the lifeless, sterile, futile, quickly forgotten stuff that is crammed in to the mind of the poor helpless individual tied into his seat by ironclad bonds of conformity! 

I am talking about LEARNING – the insatiable curiosity that drives the adolescent boy to absorb everything he can see or hear or read about gasoline engines in order to improve the efficiency and speed of his ‘cruiser’. I am talking about the student who says, “I am discovering, drawing in from the outside, and making that which is drawn in a real part of me.”

I am talking about any learning in which the experience of the learner progresses along this line: “No, no, that’s not what I want”; “Wait! This is closer to what I am interested in, what I need”; “Ah, here it is! Now I’m grasping and comprehending what I need and what I want to know!”

Carl Rogers 1983: 18-19

Claxton reminds us that life is “messy” and notes that in real life people:

  • Watch each other and copy or adapt what they see.
  • They go off by themselves to practice “hard bits”.
  • They ask their own questions and select their own “teachers”.
  • They make scruffy notes and diagrams to help them think and plan.
  • They create half baked ideas and possibilities and try them out.
  • They run through things in their head imagining how things might play out.
  • They imagine themselves doing something better and use this to guide their practice.

NOW, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we saw this reflected in how we “do business” in our schools – and universities!

SO, three books you gotta read: