Learning Agility

Teaching students to create and use feedback

Over the past few weeks, we have been exploring the Five Elements of Effort. We began by noting that although we are interested in student “effort”, we often lack a coherent definition of what we mean by “effort”. “Effort” is often associated simply with the amount of time and energy a student expends on a […]

Why students need to get better at making mistakes

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve written about how real growth only happens when we stretch ourselves beyond our current best. We grow when we seek to raise the bar by working in our Learning Zone. This stretch requires us to develop our Habits of Mind to become better learners. The challenge with working […]

Learning to do better with Habits of Mind

Last week, I wrote about the two fundamental types of learning: learning to do more and learning to do better. Learning to do more involves “below-the-bar” thinking. It occurs in your Comfort Zone and simply entails applying your current learning behaviours to the task at hand. It’s doing something you can already do or doing […]

There are only two types of learning: More or Better

In my mind, there are only two types of learning: learning to do more or learning to do better. As educators, it is critical we recognise these two very different types of learning. Moreover, we must ensure our students understand the difference between the two and that we nurture their relationship with learning to do […]

The Five Elements of Effort

Have you noticed a difference between how we assess student performance and how we assess student effort? We tend to use more formative assessment methods for performance and more summative assessment methods for effort. Let me explain. In my experience, most schools evaluate student effort using a linear scale from low to high or unsatisfactory […]

The true value of a Picasso

There is a fable about Spanish artist Pablo Picasso that goes along these lines. Picasso was sitting on a park bench when a young woman came up to him and asked, “Could you draw me a picture, please?” Picasso got out his sketchpad and pencil and quickly sketched a portrait of the young woman. She […]

How to Get Out of the Learning Pit

The Learning Pit is a powerful analogy for learning that is used by schools around the world. In its simplest form, the Learning Pit represents a challenge. Taking on a challenge is like getting into a pit. We may feel uncertain and it takes effort to climb out. When we do climb out, it means […]

How to raise the bar on student performance

At one point or another, everyone experiences growth like this: We start learning something new. The early stages of learning are easy. We quickly master the basics and we experience relatively rapid growth and progress. But after a while, learning becomes difficult. Progress slows. Eventually, it stops and we reach our “limit”. This is what […]

McEnroe vs Federer: A battle of Mindset

In her book, Mindsets: The New Psychology of Success, Professor Carol Dweck uses John McEnroe as an example of a person with a Fixed Mindset. I think he’s a great example for many reasons. You can’t argue with the fact McEnroe was an extraordinary tennis player. He is ranked 6th in the list of most […]

Learning Agility – Lessons form South Africa

Last week, I collaborated with a wonderful organisation: Thinking Schools South Africa (TSSA). Together we worked with more than 600 educators from all over South Africa in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, It was my third trip to South Africa, and each one has been a truly amazing experience. My first visit in 2011 left […]