Book Review: The Learning Power Approach by @GuyClaxton

Published by Crown House Publishing

The Learning Power Approach - Teaching Learners to Teach themselves by @GuyClaxton

£18.99
9.3

Content

9.5/10

Accessible

9.5/10

Authority

9.0/10

Pedagogical

9.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Offers an argument about what is possible to achieve in 21st-century schools.
  • Book aims to develop students becoming confident and capable learners.
  • Explores fourteen design principles evident in LPA classrooms that can be easily applied to everyday teaching
  • Approach asks teachers to become more conscious of the cultures created in their classrooms
  • An ideal book for those who want their students to become more efficient and effective learners.

Learning is such an important and crucial aspect of being. No matter what path our lives are drawn towards, our learning – and attitude to learning – will help us succeed professionally and personally. Of course, learning can take place at formal and informal moments of our lives, involving observations, readings, critiquing, experimenting, imagining, reasoning, imitating, discussing, reflecting and practising.

Fundamentally, learning is best achieved when we are individually invested, interested and engaged – whether intrinsically driven, curious, or wanting to learn to achieve a personal goal or ambition. But where does such a learning desire fit in with current school agendas judging on standardised test scores? How does a drill-and-test teaching approach help ignite young people’s imaginations to inspire learning beyond what is needed to pass the exam?

In the first book of a promised series, Guy Claxton offers a Learning Power Approach (LPA) that schools and teachers can adopt, with the text offering an argument about what is possible to achieve in 21st-century schools. Offering the rationale, evidence, principles and frameworks that underpin the whole LPA, the book guides the reader to explore the kinds of learning going on in classrooms, reminding us that attitudes to learning are often formed by less visible and discreet classroom occurrences. Guy reminds us that…

Every lesson, every day, affects the slow build-up of (critical learning) attitudes – for good or ill. How we teach slowly shapes the way young people respond to the unknown – to change, challenge, complexity, and uncertainty. Our teaching can steer them towards becoming more positive, confident, and capable in the face of difficulty. Or it can steer them towards becoming more timid, dogmatic, and insecure. If we choose the former route, they will learn what they need to know more easily and effectively, and they will pursue their own dreams, interests, and ambitions more robustly throughout life” (p.30)

The above quote is an inspiring reminder for all working in schools, as in the bustle of daily school life, it is often easy to lose sight of our individual position, and the messages young people take from our words and actions.

Yet Guy continues into the book explaining the intentions and guiding principles behind LPA, aiming to develop students becoming confident and capable learners. Offering teachers guidance on what LPA might look in everyday classroom practice, along with some quick wins to get started. Offering ten reasons of why LPA should be embedded into teaching practice, Guy argues that being a powerful learners helps pupils do well in education, equipping individuals for the world of work. Add in the eight elements of learning power, the book gives you the building blocks to best support young people and putting the approach into action.

The book continues exploring fourteen design principles evident in LPA classrooms that can be easily applied to everyday teaching, requiring only a few subtle changes by individual teachers to what is probably being done on a daily basis. Guy concludes by explaining the evidence for LPA, also exploring some of the distinctions and misconceptions of the approach.

Ultimately, LPA asks teachers to become more conscious of the cultures created in their classrooms, taking note how habits steer young people towards or away from learning dispositions. So who is this book for? This is an ideal book for teachers, school leaders, or student teachers who are wanting to explore an approach to support pupils take ownership of their own learning, becoming more efficient and effective learners. This is no ‘quick fix’ book, and readers will need to reflect upon their own practice, classroom environment and make a commitment to follow through on the ideas, philosophies and theories articulated throughout.


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About @digicoled 265 Articles
Colin Hill - Founder, researcher and editor of ukedchat. Also a bit of a tech geek! Project management, design thinking, and metacognition.

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