News and Announcements

Newcastle - Action Research Workshop 3 - Celebratory Session

  • Wednesday, 2nd April 2014 at 4pm - 6pm
    Location: Park View School, Church Chare, Chester-le-Street DH3 3QA

    Publishing and Celebrating

    Presenting the findings of your action…

Classroom practice - To teach know-how, know how to teach

Posted by Kelly Williams, Monday, 24th February 2014 @ 10:39am

  • The subject of vocational pedagogy has been sorely neglected for far too long. Now it’s time for practitioners to lead the debate

    In almost 500 years of formal vocational education, it seems as though the conversation about vocational pedagogy has never really happened.

    Admittedly, there have been pockets of research - Germany and Switzerland are routinely held up as exemplars of apprenticeship success, and academic work exploring the Australian vocational education and training system has recently emerged - but these are exceptions rather than the rule.

    It is an oversight that is increasingly being highlighted by high-profile figures. In her Review of Vocational Education, published in 2011, Professor Alison Wolf asserted that many young people in England were on courses that provided little realistic chance of progression towards work or higher study. She added that the vocational education on offer to 14- to 19-year-olds was “not good enough”.

    This sentiment was shared by James Calleja, director of Cedefop, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training. He told TES recently that adult education was failing because “too often it is assumed that if [teachers] have got the skills from doing the job themselves they can step up and teach others…but everyone benefits from proper, structured teaching and learning” (“EU chief complains that those who can’t, teach adults”, 17 January).

    But is anyone listening? Will anything come of these warnings? To answer that question, we must first ask why the concept of vocational pedagogy has so rarely been discussed.

    Read the full article

Developing True Grit

Posted by Kelly Williams, Friday, 14th February 2014 @ 10:51am

  • Can you teach it? Should you teach it? Should it be part of the school curriculum? The ‘it’ in question is character, or grit, or resilience or all three and more, and it’s been a big talking point this week. Michael Gove believes his school reforms would help develop it; Tristram Hunt argues that it should be a taught part of the curriculum while an all Party Parliamentary Group is behind a Report published this week on future policy. It’s not a new issue of course but seems to have resurfaced as debate continues about whether the current curriculum reforms tilt learning too far away from what are often regarded as essential personal skills and politicians battle it out for the soul of education. So what is true grit and where’s it best developed?

    What is meant by grit/resilience in an education setting?

    It’s generally easier to recognise than define and most attempts at codification tend to reflect what comes under the heading of ‘soft skills.’ Click on preferred soft or personal skills on recruitment websites and you generally get a list that comprises the following: effective communication; problem solving; team player; flexibility; creative thinking; confidence; and being able to accept feedback and act on it.

    These tally pretty closely with the seven acknowledged employability skills that the CBI has been promoting for some time although theirs include Business and Customer Awareness and Application of IT and of Numeracy along with self-management, team working and communications.

    Similar lists can be found in most employer surveys and are pretty much staple diet in vocational programmes these days but the MPs’ Report this week, published with the think tank Centre Forum and the independent Character Counts centre, focuses more on the “personal resilience and emotive wellbeing” side of personal development. Their research suggests four key ‘character capabilities’ namely: application; self-direction; self-control; and empathy, with a strong nod towards a range of other characteristics such as self-efficacy and the ability to defer gratification, generally reflected in the terms ‘mental toughness’ and ‘grit.’

    An interesting aspect of this is the development of wellbeing, the subject of recent Reports from both Young Minds and Barnardos and increasingly recognised in schools as an important contributor to learning success and component of personal or character development.

    Read the full article from Pearson here

A glass of wine with Prof Bill Lucas to start your weekend on Friday 14 March

  • Friday, 14th March 2014 at 5:15pm - 6:30pm
    Location: Winchester University, West Downs Campus, Main Building WD211

    The all-party parliamentary group on Social Mobility has called for a more expansive education…

The all-party parliamentary group on Social Mobility calls for more expansive education

Posted by Kelly Williams, Wednesday, 12th February 2014 @ 3:10pm

eedNET NEW 2014 Research digest: Learnable Intelligence

Posted by Kelly Williams, Tuesday, 11th February 2014 @ 10:52am

  • Message from the team

    The ‘nature or nurture’ question has long interested educationalists. Can children get smarter?
    Or are they stuck with whatever intelligence they inherit from their parents.

    This issue is at the heart of our thinking in the Expansive Education Network and we believe that there is compelling evidence for the learnability of much of what we currently refer to with the term ‘intelligence’.  Indeed the emerging science relating to this topic is one of four dimensions of the way we use the word ‘expansive’. Readers please accept this declaration of our position and read what follows with appropriate open-mindedness!
    We are by no means alone in our thinking about the learnability of intelligence. The former president of the American Educational Research Association, Lauren Resnick, describes intelligence as “the sum of one’s habits of mind.” Intelligence, she suggests, can be thought of as comprising an orchestra of skills and attitudes brought to bear at the appropriate time in order to meet the challenges of life. In this sense it is a matter of common sense that we can all get more intelligent.
    Undoubtedly there is a part of intelligence that is predisposed by genetics in each of us, and our temperament is also inbuilt to a degree. Yet just as any habit can be developed, so habits of mind such as self-discipline and resilience can be taught and learned. And these habits of mind (or dispositions) are just as likely – if not more so - to be indicators of exam success than IQ. Learning dispositions also develop through experience – either positively, or negatively – and so the aspect of intelligence determined dispositionally is, to a large degree, learnable. Exactly the size of this ‘large degree’ is debatable. But the message to educators is positive: you CAN influence the academic chances of those you teach.
    Increasingly, approaches that focus on the so-called fixed ‘ability’ of students are being replaced by those that focus on the expandability of intelligence. Research in the US by Carol Dweck has demonstrated that those children who believe they can get smarter actually do so.
    Without that belief that mental capacity can grow, there would be little point focusing on developing learning dispositions and ‘habits of mind’. It would not make sense to try to cultivate deliberate practice, risk taking, and creativity.
    In this issue we show how the debate about intelligence has moved beyond testing.  We explore some of the recent and current research, and ask what this means for teachers.

    Bill Lucas, Ellen Spencer and Janet Hanson

    Inside This Issue

    2           What is intelligence?

    5           Why I.Q. is not enough

    7           Learnable intelligence: an emerging science

    8           The importance of mindset

    10         Training for intelligence; {signature pedagogies}

    10         {thinking skills}

    11         {optimism}

                {grouping by ability}

    12        Putting ideas into practice

                 {some principles}

                 {expansive talking}

                 {normalizing confusion}

                 {dispositional thinking}

                 {assessing intelligence}

    To access the full journal join The Expansive Education Network here

Podcast: Bill Lucas discusses CRL's expansive approach to vocational pedagogy with the TES

Posted by Kelly Williams, Monday, 27th January 2014 @ 11:42am

Campaign for Learning - Family Learning - Make It Men Friendly

  • Wednesday, 5th February 2014 (all day)
    Location: London

    Research shows that engaging dads and male carers in their children’s learning can lead to…

Introduction to Philosophy for Children with Will Ord

  • Wednesday, 12th February 2014 at 9am - 3pm
    Location: The Oxford Hotel, Godstow, Road Oxford

    This is a rare opportunity to attend a one day introduction to Philosophy for Children (P4C)…

Building Learning power (BLP) and eedNET

Posted by Kelly Williams, Wednesday, 22nd January 2014 @ 10:28am

  • A number of teachers interested in Building Learning power (BLP) have begun to focus on how they can develop dispositions promoted by BLP. A good example of this are various colleagues at Teaching Leaders. The attached list of possible questions deliberately encourages teachers to explore the development of specific BLP ‘learning muscles’

    Question examples here

Expanding horizons

Posted by Kelly Williams, Thursday, 19th December 2013 @ 11:00am

  • Bill Lucas explores the concept of expansive education and what it means for teaching and learning.

    The core purpose of education is, surely, to give all young people the confidence and capacity to flourish in the world that they are going to inhabit. Given that none of us has much idea, for any particular child, what his or her world will be like or what specific skills or knowledge they are going to need in ten or 50 years from now, we have to find goals for education that are at a deeper, more generic level.

    But it is a fair bet that, wherever they are, young people will need, among other things, to be able to:

    • make discerning lifestyle choices
    • make, maintain and repair friendships
    • discover forms of work that are fulfilling
    • enjoy enriching their lives through conversation, reading and culture
    • face uncertainty with calm intelligence and resourcefulness

    We think that the development of such capabilities or dispositions – what we refer to as ‘dispositional teaching’ – form the nub of the deeper goals I referred to above. By dispositional teaching, we mean approaches that explicitly seek to cultivate the kinds of dispositions we have just listed above at the same time as growing magnificent mathematicians, wonderful writers, great geographers and so on.

    Such dispositions are, in effect, the core curriculum of any 21st-century educational system. And the main challenge for all leaders is to lead an institution that delivers these wider goals as well as jumping through whatever hoops any secretary of state for education may place along the way. In our recent book, Expansive Education: Teaching learners for the real world (Lucas, B, Claxton, C and Spencer, E, 2013), we have assembled case studies of promising practices from across the world, as well as the underpinning research evidence for the effectiveness of the approaches that they have adopted.

    Full article from Leader magazine here


Unleash your inner evaluator

Posted by Kelly Williams, Wednesday, 18th December 2013 @ 11:37am

  • Change begins with you. It might sound like advice from a selfhelp
    manual, but meaningful self-evaluation and extensive
    research is vital for developing individual and whole-school
    practice. Dave Walters explains  

MMU: Getting Started in Action Research

  • Tuesday, 4th March 2014 at 4:30pm - 6:30pm
    Location: MMU, Didsbury Campus, Room Behrens 0.2

    The first in a series of three professional development sessions, included in your…

Guy Claxton at Learning Technologies 2014

  • Thursday, 30th January 2014 (all day)
    Location: Olympia 2, London

    Now in its 15th year, it's Europe's leading showcase of technology supported workplace…

SSAT Lead Practitioner / Expansive Education Conference

  • Wednesday, 29th January 2014 at 9:30am - 3:30pm
    Location: Holiday Inn Camden Lock, London, NW1 7BY

    Teachers as Researchers – deepening your own learning to improve outcomes for your students

Newcastle: Action Research Workshop 2 - Coaching and Check-In

  • Thursday, 5th December 2013 at 4pm - 6pm
    Location: Park View School, Church Chare, Chester-le-Street DH3 3QA

    A chance to bring along your work in progress, share it and receive feedback from your session…

Association of Colleges - Do we need a vocational pedagogy?

  • Tuesday, 19th November 2013 at 2:30pm - 3:30pm
    Location: Executive Room 1, ICC, Birmingham

    Association of Colleges - Annual Conference and Exhibition

    Do we need a vocational…

Bill Lucas shares expansive thoughts at Eton College's innovative conference for prep schools

Posted by Kelly Williams, Friday, 8th November 2013 @ 10:48am

  • Teachers at Eton College have been engaged in action research for the last year as part of their eedNET membership. James Stanforth chose to explore ways in which he could make the teaching of French more expansive and you can read the results of his work, conducted under the auspices initially of the International Boys' School Coalition and latterly with the Expansive Education Network, here:

    Or if you prefer a visual representation of his work, look here:

Sheffield: Getting Started in Action Research

  • Wednesday, 27th November 2013 at 4pm - 6pm
    Location: Sheffield Hallam University, Owen Building, Room 941

    The first in a series of three professional development sessions, included in your…

SSAT: What kind of teaching for what kind of learning?

Posted by Kelly Williams, Monday, 4th November 2013 @ 10:18am

  • What kind of teaching for what kind of learning?

    The second Redesigning Schooling pamphlet – What kind of teaching for what kind of learning? by Guy Claxton and Bill Lucas - will be arriving in SSAT member schools. Guy and Bill’s pamphlet is the second of nine editions to be published over the coming months, culminating with What the new professionalism means for the UK by Michael Fullan and Andy Hargreaves in Spring 2014.

    What kind of teaching for what kind of learning includes the following:

    • Teaching and learning to what end?
    • What kinds of learning do you need in your school to deliver your desired outcomes of education?
    • What kind of teaching will create the kind of learning that you want in your school?
    • What kind of leadership will create the desired kinds of teaching and learning, so students leave school with your desired outcomes of education?

    Download chapter 1 – teaching and learning to what end? here

    Additional copies of this pamphlet are available to members for £10 per copy, and to non-members for £15 per copy. Visit the SSAT Library to find out more.

    The following two pamphlets in the series will be Dylan Wiliam’s Principled curriculum design and Peter Chambers’ Working with stakeholders.

Expansive Education Network

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