Culture and habit change: the learning powered school

I was absolutely delighted to get my hands on Guy Claxton’s new book to provide some inspiration before the start of the new term.  Long overdue, may I add, since the original Building Learning Power was published way back in 2002 – and a lot has happened since then.  Fortunately, what hasn’t changed is the underlying philosophy of the BLP approach, now backed up by evidence from implementation at a number of schools nationwide.  This volume updates BLP and provides practical pointers for both classroom and whole school implementation – all in the name of developing a learning powered school.

5 core beliefs underpin BLP 2011-style

1) Education is about preparing young people for life after school – not just for tests, but for the tests of life, with all the uncertainties that this will bring.  This means developing cognitive, social and emotional resilience.

2) The development of resilience and resourcefulness is relevant for all young people.  It involves them in discovering something that they’d really love to be good at and then strengthening the will and skill to pursue it.

3) Becoming confident in a changing world is especially relevant for societies like ours , where young people face change, complexity, risk, opportunity and individual responsibility for making their own way in life.

4) Intelligence is learnable.  This is a key belief, in a society where too much emphasis is place on ‘ability’, which many people are supposed to lack.  Real world intelligence is not fixed at birth.

5) The depth and challenge of the change needed to do 1-4 above properly is massively underestimated.  What’s needed is culture change in schools and habit change by teachers.

For those that need more convincing, try reading Guy’s 2008, What’s The Point of School?, which sets out what’s so amiss with the typical secondary school culture in this country.

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