Educational leadership & learning

I bought the book (by Claxton, Chambers, Powell and Lucas) towards the end of 2014, but it has taken me a while to find time to read it. Given that it was written in 2011, and follows on from “Building Learning Power” many of you may well have read and embedded the ideas and principles already.

I produced a summary of what I felt were the most interesting quotes to share with my staff, and asked them to choose the one that resonated most with them. I have also shared the document with other local HTs. Some colleagues have found it useful so I blogging the list, although it is merely quotes from the book without commentary or evaluation from myself.

I hope someone finds it useful, though obviously my main recommendation would be to read the book.



“Helping pupils become more independent, more reflective, and better able to plan and evaluate their own learning is a better way of boosting their attainment.”

“BLP people: reflective, honest, enthusiastic but discerning consumers of new ideas, open-minded, willing to try, patient, resilient, open with pupils, collaborative and generous with thoughts and ideas.”

“Young people need to build up the mental, emotional and social resources to enjoy challenge and cope well with uncertainty and complexity.”

 “Society is full of change, complexity, risk, opportunity and individual responsibility.”

“All young people are capable of developing the confidence, capability and passion…society’s notion of ‘ability’ has been too closely tied with academic achievement…real-world intelligence is broader than that.”



Exploring the use of meta-cognition (pupils thinking about their own thinking) has a positive effect on pupils’ engagement, achievement and the development of positive dispositions towards learning in general.

John Hattie: “the biggest effects on student learning occur when teachers become learners of their own teaching, and when students become their own teachers.”

Edexcel: widely desirable qualities of mind: “the ability to learn, problem-solving, creativity, initiative, responsibility, team-work, empathy and communication.”

Foresight report: “human wellbeing in a complex time will become increasingly dependent on the dispositions to be curious, inquisitive, experimental, reflective and sociable.”

“Worthwhile learning – how to make the best use of imagination, reasoning, concentration, collaboration…providing a more genuinely problem or enquiry-based approach may engage them again.”



“Each session making use of the content and activities to create a pleasurably taxing mental workout.”

“What’s the least I can do to get productive learning happening?”

“Designing learning activities that deliberately stretch and exercise the full range of learning-orientated habits of mind; providing increasing opportunities for students to design and direct their own learning; and using the physical environment to reinforce positive messages about exploration and experimentation.”

Hattie: “A teacher’s job is to make work difficult. If you are not challenged, you do not make mistakes. If you do not make mistakes, feedback is useless.”

“Lessons are less likely to be talk-and-chalk, and much more likely to contain challenges and activities that get pupils thinking and learning for themselves…provoke pupils to explore a challenging question, problem or assertion, and then (the adults) become observers of their learning, only intervening as appropriate to refocus and stretch individuals and groups.”

“Teachers’ openness about and enthusiasm for their own learning and strengthening a whole-school ethos of non-defensive, supportive and collaborative enquiry.”

By involving learners more in how they learn, they gain a greater sense of ownership and confidence about their voice in the classroom and in their ability as a learner.”

“Encourage teachers to use a language which supports the pupils’ development as powerful learners and exemplifies the traits.”

 “To breed powerful and enthusiastic young learners, we need to engage them not just as consumers of knowledge, but as critics and makers of knowledge.”

“What sort of learning challenge will extend or expand their learning in ways that will intrigue and challenge them?”



“Creating a learning-powered school is a learning journey…growing its collective resilience, resourcefulness, reflection and relationships.”

“Be passionate learners themselves, interested in the learning process, able and willing to talk about their own learning, leaders of learning, encouraging everyone in the community to be less afraid of risk or uncertainty by their own example.”

“Creating dynamic professional learning communities, ongoing teacher enquiry projects, and targeted use of coaching.”

“Teachers are empowered to experiment and create their own solutions. A spirit of openness and enquiry increasing pervades the school…supporting the freedom to experiment, take risks, and learn from mistakes…schools are learning their way forward and staff view themselves as leaders of their own learning.”


RESILIENCELearner’s emotional and experiential engagement.

Concentration, resist distractions, close attention, fascination, tolerating emotional ups and downs, bouncing back from frustration and failure.

RESOURCEFULNESSLearner’s main cognitive skills and dispositions.

Scepticism, curious questioning, making links and connections, balancing reason and imagination, collecting and capitalising on tools and resources.

RECIPROCITYLearner’s social and interpersonal side.

Argues your corner, keep an open mind, listening carefully, seeing other sides, collaborative team-member, open to positive skills and attitudes of others.

REFLECTIVENESSLearner’s strategic and self-managing side.

Planning, anticipating needs and obstacles, taking stock and flexibly revising, distilling out lessons and applications for the future, honest self-appraisal.



Common features of both are:

  • Curiosity and questioning
  • Noticing and observation
  • Perseverance
  • Exploring possibilities through imagination
  • Clear thinking and reasoning
  • Checking and improving
  • Distilling principles and applying lessons for the future
  • Meta-learning or metacognition
  • Interdependence
  • Listening and empathy

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