Tony Gurr

Posts Tagged ‘Guy Claxton’

MOTİVASYON – …when TEACHers “LEARN” other TEACHers!

In Classroom Teaching, Our Schools, Our Universities, Teacher Learning, Teacher Training on 15/06/2013 at 5:25 am

A couple of posts ago…I left things with the word LEARNacy!


Nativation (blog)


That was a test…and a few of you still need to hit that “little, red word” (I have one of those lovely chaps/chapettes, their “happiness engineers”, at WordPress just sitting there…just for me…analysing my blog data…and she works 24/7…for “free”)!


LEARNacy is a real word…honest to God!


But as I have already done a load of posts on it, suffice to say…time to hit the “little, red words” again”:


Come on…it’s weekend… – “bedtime READing” is what weekends were imagineered for!


LEARNacy (new ver TG)


When I work with TEACHers on motivation, sometimes I get the feeling that we (as a profession) thunk that it is a whole different story…when it comes to kids in the CLASSroom.

To get round this, I try a little exercisea little “pop quiz”…if you will:

Motivation (the QUIZ)


TEACHers actually like this question (esp. when we take “money” off the table – I am sorry…there is nothing wrong with wanting to “feed your family” and it’s high time we stop beating up on TEACHers for “needing” what every single one of us needs) …and the answers we get would surprise you:


Motivation (the ANSWERS)

Yes, we TEACHers are human beings, too!


Now, I think I may have actually “stolen” this idea from somewhere – but, can’t…for the life of me…remember where. The point is that we all need to see that “kids” are not that different to us (when we get them away from the EXAMocracy mentality…and the silly pressures that parents…yes, mummy and daddy…place on their kids)!


Many of our motivations for coming to school…are social, emotional…all that touchy-feely stuff!


When we ask TEACHers (as I did with the idea in the last post) if they can apply (or adapt) these “understandings” to their CLASSroom practice, they can…they do:


Motivation (the AKP plug)


…but for some reason – this little graphic has been getting me in trouble of late! I paid bloody good money for that image!



Neyse…this is where…and all TEACHers “love” this…we get people to:

Share Share Share

YES! …again! TEACHers looovvveee sharing…and giving helpful ADVICE!




Even with all this thunking and sharing going on in my TRAINing room…I still get the occasional “question”, every now and again. The kinda question no trainer wants to get when they have just run a great workshop or seminar:


Motivation (final question from TEACHers)


Tony! Go on…TELL ME!


I have another “graphic” up my sleeve…for times like that:


Motivation (the CHALLENGE)


Your choice!


Just remember this one thunk – TEACHers always do it better with other TEACHers!


BTW…Put these books on your SUMMER READing Listyou will not be disappointed!

The LISTENing Educator…

In Classroom Teaching, Guest BLOGGERS, Our Universities on 21/12/2012 at 2:38 am
by Laurence Raw
Listening (doggy ears)
It’s amazing what can be learned from isolated conversations.
I was talking to three separate sets of LEARNers this week in different departments, as well as from different educational levels (under- and postgraduate, as well as trainee educators).  All of them had plenty of work to complete for their courses – assignments, lesson-plans, assessments and the like.
Yet many of them admitted to finding such tasks extremely difficult, chiefly because they did not quite understand what was expected of them by their “educational peers”.  Did they have to produce ‘scholarly’ pieces, using examples taken from secondary texts; or were they expected to give their own opinions on the material?  What kind of criteria did educators use to distinguish a ‘good’ from a ‘bad’ submission, and how could LEARNers work towards meeting them?  And what kind of feedback could learners expect, apart from being given a grade?
The question of assessment is a complex one; too complex, in fact, for a short blog-post.
However I got the distinct impression that no one was actually listening to one another.  That term “to listen” is a complex one: it doesn’t just involve decoding words and sentences, but rather participating in a process described thus by Richard Sennett in a recent book: “though we may use the same words, we cannot say we are speaking of the same things; the aim is to come eventually towards a common understanding.”
It is that “common understanding” that is conspicuously absent from many classrooms.
The CLASSROOM - weapons of mass instruction
How can we improve the listening environment?  The public speaking consultant Lisa B. Marshall offers three effective solutions: 
1.       Tune In.  Make sure you give listeners your undivided attention.  Turn off your “mind chatter” and look at how they react to what you say.  If you feel they haven’t understood a point you have said, then try and clarify it.  Or better still, find another means to explain it – for example, by writing it down.
2.       Show You are Listening.  This is something many educators find difficult, especially if they are accustomed to monopolizing the learning environment.  The key is to concentrate on the words you hear and – perhaps more importantly – understand the body language signals you see.  Are learners smiling?  Are they talking amongst themselves? Are the words and body language congruent?
3.       Understand What You’ve Just Heard and/or Seen.  Educators need to translate and interpret their learners’ reactions.  They have to decide what they mean.  We all create meaning based on our own experiences, but sometimes that’s not enough.  We need to ask open-ended questions to confirm our understanding, and try to eliminate possible miscommunications.
21 TOBB Seminar (05 July 2012)
Such steps might seem rather obvious (aren’t all educators supposed to listen to their learners?) but it seems that their significance is frequently overlooked. However difficult it might be, we need to pay less attention to content, and concentrate instead on how we can communicate better.
Guy Claxton believes that this is the key to acquiring “learning power” for educators and learners alike.  By listening to others, we can learn how to ask better questions, and thereby learn how to co-operate with one another.  This is essential to learning: in this kind of environment, everyone can ask themselves what they don’t understand and why.  If they can’t understand something, they ask more questions – not only of themselves, but also of other members of the group.
What we’re (really) talking about here is a redefinition of the relationship between educators and their learners. Effective listening means treating learners on equal terms; to ask questions of them, as means to help them develop the confidence to ask questions themselves.
Wouldn’t it be great if more educators could shed some of their pride in their knowledge and/or status and actually initiate this process?
Laurence Raw
Baskent University.
Department of English, Ankara, Turkey.
Editor: Journal of American Studies of Turkey
@laurenceraw (Twitter)

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?



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!


…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!


Emotional Literacy for Educators – the 12-step programme!

In Adult Educators, Classroom Teaching, Educational Leadership on 05/04/2012 at 10:45 am

In a recent post I talked about the idea of Emotional Literacy – one of the core human literacies that drive great TEACHing and also great educational leadership.

Some people call it Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI), educational leaders often use the term “Conscious Leadership” – I prefer to think of it as the “people STUFF” in LEARNing and TEACHing.

Call it what you will…it is here to stay! And, as a concept, it is attracting more and more interest in education as we all get to grips with balancing the “digital literacies” (and fluencies) of the 21st Century with the “human literacies” that are the very foundation of good LEARNing and TEACHing.

In an earlier post, I told you that Tom Peters believes that the world today needs “leaders” who:

OK , I might re-name that 6th one – “LEARN, LEARN, LEARN”!

You know me so well…


For me, all TEACHers are LEADersand Uncle Tom puts his finger on all the major elements that TEACHer LEADers (and their school LEADers) really need to emphasise as they work with 21st Century students. If we do not walk-the-talk, how can we expect our students to even LEARN the talklet alone “walk” it!

The internet is today awash with advice for 21st Century Educational Leaders – these leaders are not only 21st Century Learning Specialists, they are also:

These ideas are also reflected in the work of educators like Marcy Shankman and Scott Allen – who believe that all leaders (and there are many all over our schools and colleges) need to think more about their own “consciousness”:


…if we are to do the same with our LEARNers!


This notion of Conscious Leadership has also been around for some time.

Deepak Chopra tells us we are beginning to see, thanks to information technology (those damn computers, again!), a paradigm shift from a material worldview to a consciousness-based worldview. This makes a great deal of sense – after all:

  • What is consciousness, if not information and energy that has become alive with self-referral? In other words, consciousness is information that responds to feedback, which is also information.

This self-referred information, if applied to “what matters”, supports the process of “consciousness” becoming “intelligence” – and even more LEARNing.


This, in essence, is what we teachers call “reflective savvy”:

– the very process of what we all do to improve what we do with what we know and understand about LEARNing and TEACHing and adapt or transform ourselves as educators…yes, I know – a mouthful!


Being a great TEACHer in the 21st Century, to go back to Marcy Shankman and Scott Allen, is not just about the “tech” – it is not even just about LEARNing and TEACHing practice in the classroom (“virtual” or not). Though, I have to admit, the whole idea of LEARNacy is probably on a par with these:

It’s essentially about exercising our Emotional Literacy “muscle” – knowing and understanding more about our SELF, our OTHERS and our CONTEXT…and being “savvy” on the INTRAPERSONAL, INTERPERSONAL and ENVIRONMENTAL levels, too.

And…how we critically apply this knowledge to all our EDU understandings:


So, how should we exercise this muscle – to make it more emotionally intelligent and make ourselves more emotionally literate?


A while back, I tried to develop a “12-Step Plan” to help teachers set up their own D-I-Y professional development process (if their schools were not helping them out as much as they should).

I thought I’d try the same for Emotional Literacy:

STEP 1 – Read, learn and discuss more about emotional intelligence and conscious leadership (book learnin’ be good – sharing be better)!

STEP 2 – Know thyself (and know “others” and “context” more)! This needs a couple more steps…

STEP 3 – Try to become more aware of your own “emotional style”. Ask yourself – What do I do in more emotional situations? How do I try to avoid discomfort? What do I know about the emotions of those I work with (and how do I know this)? What role do emotions play in my institution (and how do I know this)?

STEP 4 – Get to know yourself better by trying out a few of the many EQ assessment tools you can find nowadays – to understand your strengths and “soft spots” a bit more. Be careful – there is a lot of “rubbish” on the web!

STEP 5 – Focus on your own “listening skills” as a priority – listen in to others (and yourself) and see what lessons you can learn from feelings and emotions. And, remember “listening is often the best way to get your point across”!

STEP 6 – Be the change you want to see in your leadership style (OK – slight modification on what Gandhi told us) and work to increase positive feedback to yourself (and those around you) and increase your appreciation of others (try counting how many times you say “thank you” – each day)!

STEP 7 – Just do it! 

STEP 8 – Start small, begin slowly and focus on doing a few things “differently” and “well” (Rome was not built in a day…)!

STEP 9 – Don’t use technology – remember what we said; the people “stuff” (and LEARNing) is not about the hardware, the software, or the webware…it’s the headware, heartware and careware!

STEP 10 – If in doubt (and you have some “spare cash”), try attending a programme on EQ (but watch out for “EQ sharks” – those buggers that read-a-book and tell-the-world). Hey, if you can do it (and we do not do this enough in education, at all) – get yourself a “coach” (but remember – you get what you pay for)!

STEP 11 – Remember “best practice” is seldom ever enough (and the attitude of “fake-it-till-you-make-it” is quickly sussed out by others) – it is, more often than not, about somebody else’s solution to somebody else’s problem. Surely, it’s better to heed what Covey tells us about the “end” and “bearing it in mind” – and look for “Next Practice” in ourselves! 

STEP 12 – Always my favourite – remember: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference…

Hey, I’m getting better at this “12-step thing”!


But, then again, I’m sure you have some other ideas!

Back to School – Building LEARNing Power…

In Classroom Teaching, Our Schools on 16/09/2011 at 2:02 pm

I have decided to re-blog this post as so many people have been asking after details of the “new 4Rs” in education. This is one of the many innovative ideas from Guy Claxton.

This post has a wealth of links for you to follow up with – ENJOY!

Guy’s Building Learning Power programme is a great example of a principle-based, systematic and innovative programme imagineered to help “little peopl … Read More

via allthingslearning

REAL Learning…

In Classroom Teaching, Our Schools on 04/04/2011 at 6:13 am

A couple of people asked about this post (from February) – so I am “re-posting” it. Claxton’s work is really interesting for those of you that want to get (more) “real” in the classroom.

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 hundreds of pages trying to get across to people!

Claxton is highly critical of the wa … Read More

via allthingslearning

Are you a GOOD parent?

In Learning & Parenting on 22/02/2011 at 7:53 pm

OK, maybe that’s a bit of an unfair question. What I really mean to ask is how good are you as a “LEARNing parent” or how much do you help your own kids (not your students) LEARN?


There’s a Turkish saying that goes “terzi kendi söküğünü dikemez”Roughly translated it means “tailors are not very good at repairing their own stuff“!

As a young teacher (who was also a young “dad”), I always doubted my own ability to do the “parenting stuff” really well. I remember I used to say that I do the “work stuff” really well – just not so good at the whole “life thing”. I’d see these “great dads” in the parks or leaving work early to spend time with their kids – they always seemed to do more with their kids than I could ever manage…

I would always work too much – extra classes, developing new materials (without a “sexy iPad”), drafting end-of-term exams, running student clubs, going to meetings (more often than not about “administration” – not student LEARNing) and grading (with a “correction code”, of course)!

I did a silly amount of professional development – this conference, that diploma, this course, that book! I was, by all accounts, a very good LEARNer, in addition to being a half-decent TEACHer.

It was, to me at least, as if there had to be some kind of “trade-off” between “work” and “life” – and the fact that  I had been exposed to a “mixed marriage” myself meant that I had the “protestant work ethic” along with all the “catholic guilt“. I just felt bad about not having the “daddy ethic“…


I wondered, seriously, if I had been a really good dad (and “husband”, at times – my wife described my first PC as “Tony’s mistress” and since then my mistresses have got smaller and smaller – and they sit in my lap or pocket!).

I wondered if I had spent enough time helping my own daughter LEARN over her “seven ages”:

She is gonna kill me for publishing this!


I look back now and think “Hey, maybe I didn’t do such a bad job”!

I am still married to a wonderful woman (the same one) and I have this amazingly strong, young woman that I am proud to call my “big, little girl”. She’s away at university these days – doing school work, running her own life by also working part-time and earning enough to write and tell me that she doesn’t need that much cash this month!

Now, that’s the kind of kid all of us need to raise!


A few posts ago, I introduced some of you to the work of Guy Claxton (in a piece entitled “REAL Learning”).

In his book “What’s the point of school?” – Claxton offers some great advice to parents who might want to become REAL “LEARNing parents”.

I took a quick look again today:


  • Be a visible learner for your children
  • Involve children in adult conversations (sometimes I wish I had done this “less” – Çağla got far too smart, far too early)!
  • Let them spend time with you while you are doing difficult things (they also learn very colourful language this way, too)!
  • Involve children in family decisions (Çağla used to “dread” the “family meetings”)!
  • Tell your children stories about your learning difficulties
  • Encourage children to spend time with people who have interesting things to share (we did have lots of fun “grown-up” parties – and she was often the hired “bar-staff”)
  • Don’t rush in too quickly to rescue children when they are having difficulties
  • Restrain the impulse to teach (especially if you are a “teacher” – we are the worst)!
  • Don’t praise too much – use interest rather than approval
  • Acknowledge the effort, not the ability
  • Make clear boundaries and maintain them (Çağla once told me “If I hear the bloody word CONSEQUENCES again, I’ll just…..)
  • Don’t over stimulate – boredom breeds imagination
  • Choose multi-purpose and open-ended toys (I gave Çağla a cardboard box when she was 2 – she loved it)!
  • Encourage different kinds of computer use (she could use a mouse at the age of two – in 1992)!
  • Talk to children about the process of learning (without offering too much advice)
  • Watch and learn from your children’s learning


Now, I’m not sure I did “all” of these (I know I definitely did not do one of them) – but I did a fair few!

Maybe we should ask my “big, little girl”!


P.S: My thanks to Çağla and Nazlı hanim – for everything but mostly for helping me become a better “man” – and “daddy”! And, to Guy – on behalf of  “LEARNing parents” everywhere!

P.P.S: Part Two of “Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne?” – is coming!



What’s the Point of School?: Rediscovering the Heart of Education by Guy Claxton.

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: