1. The future…and learning
Building Learning Power—BLP for short—is an attempt to focus schools on preparing young people better for an uncertain future. Schools today need to be educating not just for exam results but for lifelong learning. To thrive in the twenty-first century, it is not enough to leave school with a clutch of examination certificates. Students need to have learnt how to be tenacious and resourceful, imaginative and logical, self-disciplined and self-aware, collaborative and inquisitive.
‘Students throughout the world need now to reach higher levels of achievement, not only to find fulfilling work but also to empower themselves to thrive in an increasingly complex world’
– Dylan Wiliam
- Employment requires being able to enhance and transfer knowledge and to operate collaboratively
- The capacity to learn and adapt needs to be lifelong because change is a permanent state, and the pace of change is moving more rapidly.
2. Schools…and learning
The job of schools is to prepare all youngsters for their future lives. However, there’s a disconnect between education systems and the increasingly complex needs of the 21st Century. Students need the exam results AND a set of generic skills and attitudes to deal with complexity; learning dispositions such as curiosity, inquisitiveness, experimentation, reflectiveness and sociability.
3. Learning to learn…better
Research in the learning sciences shows that learning is itself a learnable craft; that we can all get better at learning. This means that schools, teachers and parents can enable young people to help themselves to develop as better, more effective learners.
- Vast amounts of information is available and learners, young and old, need to know how to find and select relevant information, to process it, connect it, to understand it and use it.
- Learning is increasingly taking place in different settings and with different relationships.
- Learning is a way of life.
4. Schools’ approaches…to improving learning
Schools approach getting Good Results in one of two ways:
The traditional, transmission model
Good Results PLUS learners who are passive, dependent and anxious about failure.
Or . . .
The learning-centred model
Good Results PLUS learners who are inquisitive, imaginative, and independent and have other such characteristics that will stand them in good stead for a complex world.
5. Changes in learners
In learning-friendly cultures students gradually grow their learning attitudes and behaviour.
Perseverance, self-control, attentiveness, resilience to adversity, openness to experience, empathy, tolerance to diverse options. A wealth of high-value learning habits.
Where would you like your learners to be on these trajectories – towards the left, or the right? Where are they now?
And in case you are wondering why such habits matter, recent research has shown:
- Achievement tests predict only a small fraction of the variance in later life success
- Achievement tests don’t adequately capture such qualities
- Learning habits have strong effects on educational attainment but have additional effects on important life outcomes beyond their effects on schooling