Powering Up Students

The Learning Power Approach to high school teaching

By: Guy Claxton , Graham Powell


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Ebook


Size: 222mm x 182mm

Pages : 400

ISBN : 9781785833380

Format: Paperback

Published: May 2019


In Powering Up Students: The Learning Power Approach to high school teaching, Guy Claxton and Graham Powell detail the small tweaks to daily practice that will help high school teachers boost their students’ learning dispositions and attitudes.

Foreword by John Hattie.

The Learning Power Approach (LPA) is a way of teaching which aims to develop all students as confident and capable learners – ready, willing, and able to choose, design, research, pursue, troubleshoot, and evaluate learning for themselves, alone and with others, in school and out. This approach therefore empowers teachers to complement their delivery of content, knowledge, and skills with the nurturing of positive habits of mind that will better prepare students to flourish in later life.

Building upon the foundations carefully laid in The Learning Power Approach (ISBN 9781785832451), the first book in the Learning Power series, Guy Claxton and Graham Powell’s Powering Up Students embeds the ideas of this influential method in the context of the high school.

It offers a thorough explanation of how the LPA’s design principles apply to this level of education and, by presenting a wide range of practical strategies and classroom examples, illustrates how they can be put into action with different age groups and in different curricular areas – especially relating to literacy and numeracy, but also in specific subjects such as science, history, geography, and design technology.

All teachers can foster the capacity of students to be, for example, curious, attentive, imaginative, rational, and reflective – and Guy and Graham provide clear guidance on how this can be achieved. Step by step, they explore all aspects of teaching: from how to make learning compelling and challenging, to how best to make use of the environment for learning; from how to coach students so that they become more independent and responsible directors of their own learning, to subtle shifts in teacher language and behaviour that change the climate for learning.

Rooted in the authors’ knowledge of international research about how students can and should learn in schools, this practical guide is suitable for both newly qualified and experienced teachers of students aged 11–18. It will also appeal to those school principals, educationalists, and administrators who are committed to improving both students’ achievement and their preparedness for the world of learning beyond school.


Picture for author Guy Claxton

Guy Claxton

Guy Claxton is a cognitive scientist specialising in the expandability of human intelligence ' bodily and intuitive as well as intellectual ' and the roles schools play in either growing or stunting these capacities. A prolific author, his practical programmes for teachers are influencing children's lives in Ireland, Spain, Poland, Dubai, South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and Brazil, as well as across the UK.

Read Guy and Bill's featured article on the TES web page discussing Educating Ruby.

Read Guy's interview with The Telegraph May 2015.

Click here to watch Guy's introduction to The Learning Power Approach.


Picture for author Graham Powell

Graham Powell

Graham Powell has over forty years' experience working in education ' holding various posts including head teacher, Ofsted inspector, and local authority adviser ' and has throughout his career maintained a passionate concern for the ways in which young people learn. He has worked with numerous schools, both across the UK and overseas, that have chosen to place the LPA at the heart of their vision for 21st century learning. Graham is also a distinctive and inspirational trainer and is the co-author of many books including The Learning Powered School and Pathways to Coaching.


Reviews

  1. Powering Up Students is a working manual that practitioners can draw upon as they endeavour to improve their pupils' motivation and independence. As well as providing many practical ideas, the book also affords space for reflective thinking -“ and is the result of the authors' collective experience, studies and consulting work. A monumental achievement.
  2. The authors have extended their work on practical strategies, within the Learning Power Approach(LPA), to enhance learners strengths to promote and develop skills, desire, tenacity and confidence to enhance personal responsibility and performance levels. A key feature of the engaging text is that the authors move the reader and learner from the modes of -œknowing lots-, to the promotion of transferable abilities of resourcefulness, initiative, resilience, evaluation and application of knowledge within life and work situations that pose challenges and opportunities.

    The structure of the book enables the reader to build upon their current skill levels and teaching strategies with a wide range of practical advice, hints and suggestions which the authors have used to open up thinking in a range of directions to develop attitudes, dispositions and habits of mind.  The reader is encouraged to promote their own skills of critical thinking within the inserted -œWondering- boxes to adapt the suggested ideas to their own situation.  As the authors emphasise, LPA is not prescriptive and might not be for everyone

    A key strength of the text is that the style makes for easy reading.  I particularly gained from the wide range of thought provoking questions such as -œLet's Say-, -œCould be....-,and -œWhy Bother with Challenge-. In addition the boxes promoting self reflection enabled the reader to focus on the principles that underpin the ethos of a learning powered classroom

    The examples from practice of promoting Problem Solving in Mathematics (Rachel Hole),  work with Vulnerable People (Chris Turley) and other effective practice all helped to promote more effective pedagogy.  As an exponent of changing classroom layouts I found the section on the environment for learning power a really excellent section promoting thinking -œoutside of the normal box-.



    This is a brilliant resource for all schools and colleges.  It will stimulate thinking not only about curriculum change but more importantly how to transform learners from merely regurgitating knowledge to the promotion of practical skills and tenacity to address and challenge the -œDragons Den- of life and employ men.
  3. Building upon the foundations carefully laid in -˜The Learning Power Approach' (ISBN 9781785832451), the first book in the Learning Power series, Guy Claxton and Graham Powell's -œPowering Up Students: The Learning Power Approach To High School Teaching- embeds the ideas of this influential method in the context of the high school.

    -œPowering Up Students- offers a thorough explanation of how the LPA's design principles apply to this level of education and, by presenting a wide range of practical strategies and classroom examples, illustrates how they can be put into action with different age groups and in different curricular areas especially relating to literacy and numeracy, but also in specific subjects such as science, history, geography, and design technology.

    All teachers can foster the capacity of students to be, for example, curious, attentive, imaginative, rational, and reflective and Guy and Graham provide clear guidance on how this can be achieved. Step by step, they explore all aspects of pedagogy: from how to make learning compelling and challenging, to how best to make use of the environment for learning; from how to coach students so that they become more independent and responsible directors of their own learning, to subtle shifts in teacher language and behaviour that change the climate for learning.

    Rooted in the authors knowledge of international research about how students can and should learn in schools, -œPowering Up Students- is practical guide is suitable for both newly qualified and experienced teachers of students aged 11-18. It will also appeal to those school principals, educationalists, and administrators who are committed to improving both students achievement and their preparedness for the world of learning beyond school.

    Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, -œPowering Up Students: The Learning Power Approach To High School Teaching- is an ideal curriculum textbook that is especially recommended for school district, college, and university library Teacher Education collections and supplemental studies lists.

    Click here to read the review on Midwest Book Review website.
  4. I reviewed the original Learn Power Approach (LPA) book back in 2018 (see here), concluding that the pedagogical approach being advocated asking teachers to become more conscious of the cultures created in their classrooms, taking note how habits steer young people towards or away from learning dispositions. To be clear, the distinction is made early on that LPA is not another pedagogical approach that teachers should, but a collection of a number of initiatives that have been developed over time, often independently, in a number of schools.

    In this new book, Guy Claxton and Graham Powell further develop their ideas, strategies and initiatives in a comprehensive guide for secondary (high) school teachers, starting with a chapter explaining and exploring the goals of LPA, and why it matters. Once we have conquered the thinking behind LPA, the book proceeds by sharing examples of teaching in action, with curiosity at the heart of Geography, Science, English and Mathematics learning. An explanation is offered into setting the scene for LPA teaching, advising how to set expectations and maximising learning time in lessons. Making students feel safe enough to learn is also at the heart of LPA, with clear guidance on what each member of your classroom should expect of their teacher, and what the teacher will provide back to pupils -“ the classroom poster (figure 3.1) on pages 72 and 73 highlights how respect is at the heart of high expectations.

    Setting the right environment for learning is also given attention, with a focus on trying to incubate greater curiosity, determination, and independence in learners -“ the book rightly is asking whether your classroom encourages such learning skills. Furthermore, consideration is given to collaboration and communication, exploring the advantages and potential pitfalls that can occur when setting group challenges with students. The focus here is to explore the social skills in pupils, trying to bio; d on core habits of speaking and listening accurately and respectfully. Attention is also given to the language we use, as teachers, and a reflective section within Chapter 6 explores how we use the word -œwork- within the classroom, and the potentially negative connotations it has. I particularly enjoyed the example on pages 156 and 157 of using emus and elephants to help explain simultaneous equations to Year 9 students -“ simple, but genius. Getting and using the right language, as teachers, is critical, and an essential way of engaging students in learning.

    Building responsible and independent learners is what most teachers desire, and a chapter exploring case-studies and sharing strategies is inspiring for colleagues who need a nudge to promote giving students more responsibility. Further chapters explore challenge (creating and making difficulty adjustable), thinking real hard (focusing on the clarity of thinking), reflection, improvement, and craftship (with a focus on improvement rather than achievement), and coherence (across lessons and throughout the school).



    As you can probably tell from the size of this review, this is a substantial book. Each chapter has been carefully constructed to ensure that the reader understands the concepts and thinking behind the creation of LPA. Many of the ideas, strategies and resources shared are not new, however, put together in this collection and coherently within the framework behind Learning Power Approach, it is clear to see how secondary school teachers and leaders can really implement a positive change within their settings that will see joy, curiosity and engagement in teaching and learning.

    PROS:

    - An ideal book for secondary school teachers and leaders wanting to apply LPA in their setting.

    - Combines many pedagogical strategies that are proven to make a difference.

    - Does not focus on any particular subject, but shows how LPA can be applied in different areas of T&L.

    - A great mix of illustrations, case-studies, and classroom ideas that can easily be drawn upon for your context.

    - Focuses on key skills that learners need to ensure that they become engaged and active learners.

    Click here to read the review on UKEdChat's website.
  5. The LPA is a very useful and realistic theory about teaching. It is a pedagogical approach with a worthy aim that puts language about learning at the forefront, focuses on strengths rather than weaknesses, helps us to conceptualise progress in students' learning, and explains how to work towards developing independent, responsible learners.



    Powering Up Students links together LPA theory, real examples from high school classrooms, and useful discussion around the implementation of the approach. It will empower high school teachers to make changes in their classroom practice and help them to enhance students' ownership of their own learning.
  6. In Powering Up Students Claxton and Powell articulate much-needed clarity about what really matters when educating high school students in the 21st century. Their argument contrasts valuably with a discourse on schooling which tends to be overly focused on shallow and reductive outcomes for young people. Instead, the authors recognise how teachers need an approach that enables and empowers learners to navigate the complexities of modern life.

    The myriad of practical examples -“ so applicable to any classroom -“ along with the authors' conversational style of writing is what makes this book stand out, making the text perfectly accessible while also being deep in its content. The depth of contribution the book provides is exemplified in its approach to -œwondering-, where Claxton and Powell -œwalk the talk- as they encourage the reader's powerful learning by posing questions for reflection throughout the chapters.



    Thus, Powering Up Students is a book that practises what it espouses, and so it is of great instructional value to both teachers and school leaders, as well as to those involved in the preparation of all professionals working in high schools.
  7. Powering Up Students is a wonderfully practical guide for high school teachers of any subject who are committed to tweaking their practice to ensure that students build up their learning power as well as achieve good grades. The most important aspect of the book is that it communicates that the LPA is not a gimmick or a -œquick fix-; rather, the LPA is successful as it takes commitment and time to embed. It is the middle way between the traditionalists' and progressives' views on education -“ making it clear that knowledge, skills and learning habits are not mutually exclusive but entwined, and that all three need to be catered for in order to create successful learners for life.

    At our international school, the LPA is the golden thread of our pedagogy as all stakeholders are committed to preparing students for life's challenges rather than simply securing excellent outcomes in public examinations. In our context, teachers join the school from many different backgrounds and there are frequent changes of staff; the strategies in Powering Up Students will therefore help me, through induction and CPD, to build up the confidence of all our teachers and achieve consistency of approach in line with the school's LPA ethos. I particularly like the -œbumps along the way- sections, as they address the fears of LPA novices and also help more experienced LPA teachers or school leaders to stay on track.



    Powering Up Students will certainly be added to our CPD reading list for both our new and established teachers.
  8. While many books on education are thought-provoking, one often ends up wondering how the ideas presented could actually be implemented in the classroom. Powering Up Students, however, is different. It reads like a greatest hits collection, and provides a very practical guide for busy teachers as Guy and Graham distil the best teaching practices they have witnessed over many years of watching a wide range of superb teachers.



    An essential book for any teacher wishing to help young people to achieve outstanding academic results and be prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.
  9. Engaging with the LPA in Irish schools has challenged teachers to consider the process by which students learn. I have witnessed teachers empower students to move from being passive recipients of information to active participants in their own learning, and have listened to pedagogical conversations within staffrooms which have led to the adoption of new teaching and learning methodologies.



    The techniques and strategies that Guy and Graham have packed into Powering Up Students will boost the learning capacity of students, teachers, and school leaders in those schools that choose to adopt them.
  10. Teeming with ideas, as well as practical and illustrative examples of the LPA in action, Powering Up Students really shows high school practitioners how to become better LPA teachers.

    The book starts with a concise and useful explanation of the LPA -“ its background and principles -“ and makes a compelling case for why it matters. Then the authors take the reader into real classrooms from across the curriculum and around the world, offering inspiring and exciting insights into what well-embedded and well-developed learning looks like, before unpicking the constituent parts of what is a wonderfully practical framework.

    You may not feel you are a great LPA teacher yet, but follow the authors' clear advice and step-by-step guidance and you can undoubtedly become one. The authors anticipate the -œyes, buts- that you might be grappling with, and propose sensible and practical solutions to potential hurdles you may encounter. The book also features great -œwondering- boxes, filled with pertinent and searching questions to ask yourself -“ enabling you to reflect on your practice more clearly.



    Powering Up Students will spark teachers' imaginations, give them nuggets of inspiration, and fuel their determination to go further and deeper in developing their students' learning power. It also invites the LPA convert to consider how they might start working with others to develop the LPA beyond their own classroom, and once you have read this book that is exactly what you will be itching to do!
  11. Full of case studies, lesson examples, and conversations with real students, Powering Up Students is an immensely practical and solution-focused book. Its content is highly accessible and brings the ideas being discussed to life -“ making it really easy for teachers to integrate the LPA in their own settings, whatever the subject or phase. Guy and Graham present examples of excellent teaching practice from a wide range of sources and synthesise research undertaken by various other practitioners both in the UK and internationally. They also discuss potential barriers to progress with the LPA and offer advice on how to overcome them.



    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Powering Up Students -“ it has confirmed for me that the direction we have taken at John Taylor Free School is going to enable our students to be successful in life at school and beyond. I am now clearer than ever that creating a genuine love of learning, a spirit of curiosity, and a desire to challenge what is put in front of them is exactly the type of education I want us to provide for our students.

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