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 “work” 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.
to read the review on UKEdChat