Book: Powering Up Children by @GuyClaxton & @beckycarlzon via @CrownHousePub

Published by: Crown House Publishing

Powering Up Children The Learning Power Approach To Primary Teaching













  • A fabulous practical guide to teaching children positive learning habits.
  • Bursting with tips of the trade to lift classroom learning.
  • Gives clear context and reason behind the need for the Learning Power Approach.

Review by Sarah Wordlaw

Supported by: Crown House Publishing

As educators, we know that in order for a child to learn effectively, they have positive learning habits. These metacognitive skills, like resilience and working with others are imperative in allowing children to be able to make progress and feel confident in the classroom. For example, in order to problem solve, a child must be able to get several wrong answers in order to land at the correct. However, children who are not resilient struggle to cope with getting the answers wrong and therefore are not as good a problem solving and finding new ways to tackle a challenge. It is our responsibility to make learning both personalised and relevant for children, in order to prepare them to be able to cope effectively in an ever-changing world.

Tackling the development of positive learning habits, Powering Up Children explores the different ways to develop confident and capable learners, who are and able to choose, design, research, apply, troubleshoot, and evaluate learning for themselves. It gives a rich resources of independent and collaborative strategies to use both in the classroom and out. It covers ares from making your classroom and safe and interesting place to learn to the language of learning, to reflection, improvement and craftsmanship. It also details how to engage colleagues, which can sometimes be challenging to get all on board. It also touches on engaging parents and the wider school community, so that the language of learning is shared and consistent around the school, in order to have the biggest impact upon the child’s learning.

What’s particularly useful is that it specifies different activities and strategies for all age groups but also by subject. For example there are top tips on developing resilience in science and evaluation in the arts. The chapters are structured around thematic principles, and follow a common format: first explaining why the skill is needed, then practical activities and finally some common issues that occur. As a practitioner it leaves you feeling prepared to give each strategy a try with a full understanding of how and why it works.

It also challenges teacher’s mindset and explains fully that how we teach shapes over time the way young people react to the unknown – coping with challenge, change and uncertainty. Something that I found particularly interesting was “split-screen” teaching, where every lessons have two ends. One relating to the content of the learning and the other relating to the specific learning skill, for example resilience. Working in an area of extreme deprivation, the ability to weave in metacognitive skill development in all lessons is invaluable. There is a fascinating section on rethinking our language around ability, shifting the focus from attainment to improvement. We want children to surpass our expectations, and it is damaging to label children by their “ability”.

The book stands out for the way it’s “pedagogical formula” is laid out through practical suggestions, applicable to any classroom and its clear explanations of how to implement. It’s an ‘easy to pick up’ guide for a busy teacher and is suitable for both newly qualified and experienced teachers of learners in the primary phase.

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About Sarah Marie 9 Articles
Primary Deputy Head of School and Year 6 teacher. Leader of Teaching and Learning with a particular penchant for Computing, Project-Based Learning and Music and Performing Arts. Passion for Cooperative Learning. Firm believer in a coaching leadership. Lover of polka dots, cheese and wine.

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