Zest for Learning

Developing curious learners who relish real-world challenges

By: Ellen Spencer , Bill Lucas


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 222 x 182mm
Pages : 288
ISBN : 9781785834011
Format: Paperback
Published: March 2020

In Zest for Learning: Developing curious learners who relish real-world challenges, Bill Lucas and Ellen Spencer explore the ways in which teachers can help their pupils to find their passions, develop independence and challenge themselves to become more expansive learners.

Young people need more than subject knowledge in order to thrive – they need capabilities. The Pedagogy for a Changing World series details which capabilities matter and how schools can develop them.

A key capability is zest: the curiosity and desire to experience new things. Zest for Learning offers a powerful new synthesis of thinking about what it takes for young people to flourish both in education and in the wider world, especially at a time when preparing them for life beyond school often calls for brave leadership.

This could be encouraged through, for example, greater engagement with sports and the arts, by collaborating with external bodies – such as the Scouts and Guides or the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme – or by working with libraries, museums, faith groups and environmental associations.

In this book Bill and Ellen offer a framework for zest: a practical guide for teachers, underpinned by theory. They draw on a number of areas of knowledge and practice that each have something to contribute to the concept of zest for learning, bringing together ideas in concrete and actionable ways.

Zest for Learning connects the co-curriculum with the formal curriculum, building both theoretical and practical confidence in the kinds of pedagogies which work well. Bill and Ellen have infused the book with a wide range of ideas for getting pupils to love learning so much that they will be able to learn whatever they want to throughout their lives.

The authors also go further by presenting case studies that illustrate the successful integration of the co-curriculum with the formal curriculum at various educational institutions, and by providing an A–Z of practical ideas and activities for developing zest in young learners.

Suitable for all teachers and leaders, in both primary and secondary settings.

Picture for author Ellen Spencer

Ellen Spencer

Dr Ellen Spencer is Senior Researcher at the Centre for Real-World Learning and, with Bill Lucas, author of Teaching Creative Thinking. Ellen is also a Researcher for Arts Council England's Creativity Collaboratives, a three-year project to test a range of innovative practices in teaching for creativity in schools.

UKEdChat Podcast - Episode 13 - Teaching Creative Thinking.

Picture for author Bill Lucas

Bill Lucas

Professor Bill Lucas is Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning at the University of Winchester and, with Ellen Spencer, the originator of a model of creativity in use in schools across the world. A global thought-leader, Bill was co-chair of the PISA 2022 test of creative thinking and curates the Creativity Exchange website.

Building Learning Power with The Learning Organisation.

Read Bill's article in FE Week.

UKEdChat Podcast - Episode 13 - Teaching Creative Thinking.

Click here to read Bill Lucas' interview in Nursery World.

Click here to read Bill Lucas' article - Teaching creative thinking: Advice and examples'.

Click here to read another article by Bill Lucas - Why knowledge isn't enough'.

Read Bill's article in TES An open letter to Nick Gibb: 5 myths about creativity


  1. Zest for Learning is the third book in Bill Lucas and Ellen Spencer's outstanding Pedagogy for a Changing World series, and will prove to be an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to community, school district, college, and university library teacher education collections. It is also an ideal choice as a curriculum textbook for teacher in-service training programs.
  2. Zest for Learning is the third book in the outstanding Pedagogy for a Changing World series and will prove to be a great addition to community, school district, college and university library teacher education collections. It is also an ideal choice as a curriculum textbook for teacher in-service training programs.
  3. Zest for Learning is a thought-provoking book which builds upon the authors' previous stimulating work on teaching creative thinking and developing tenacity in the face of difficulty.

    The book's key focus is on developing a zest for learning by creating an environment in which learners are not merely going through the motions of interaction but are really engaged as active participants in the process of learning. Bill Lucas and Ellen Spencer highlight the point that zestful learners drive themselves both individually and as a team to take on new challenges and to learn from a flow of practical activities which extend performance levels.

    The book includes a wide variety of stimulating discussions within sections focused on developing a framework, cultivating zest in a wide range of practical arenas, and gaining awareness and insight into examples of excellent practice within a variety of establishments. The range of skills and strategies discussed are relevant not merely for teachers but also for those involved in promoting performance levels in sport, business and community groups.
  4. The framework for zest for learning created by Lucas and Spencer is inspiring. It is the integration of a wealth of ideas on creativity, curiosity and resilience into a meaningful, holistic approach to curriculum design that will galvanise our work on museum learning and enrich the lives of the children and young people in our trust.
  5. The Royal Yachting Association works hard to instil a healthy zest for learning in its young sailors and associated support staff - and the impact of this approach has been profound, helping Britain to win fifty-eight medals at Olympic level, many of them gold. This book is an essential read for anyone who wants to succeed in any walk of life.
  6. Zest for Learning is a powerful call to action for a kinder, more joyful school experience: one in which the emphasis is rightly on helping all young people flourish and thrive. I strongly commend it.
  7. This book is an excellent invitation to revisit the whole purpose of learning in our schools and to discover what the key to zest is in all our students.
  8. Zest for Learning reminds us of the true purpose of education - to nurture curious, passionate young people, putting the co-curriculum at the centre of their lives. Holyport is delighted to be at the forefront of the kind of expansive education advocated by Lucas and Spencer.
  9. Bill Lucas and Ellen Spencer brilliantly synthesise the latest thinking on how to produce balanced, curious, purposeful young people to help us imagine a richer, kinder, more sane pedagogy.
  10. Lucas and Spencer effortlessly bring to life the literature insights and exemplary practices for the idea of zest for learning so that we know how to practically support students in building this capability for a purposeful and fulfilling life.
  11. Zest for Learning is a practical resource for policy-makers, educators and parents wanting to co-create a space for children and young people to connect to the world in deep and profound ways; the research has been invaluable in inspiring FORM's Creative Learning programme in Western Australia.
  12. Focusing on zest is the single most powerful thing we've done as a leadership team; this book shows how all schools can make similar changes to their ethos.
  13. The spirit of Zest for Learning is clear - a rallying cry that I'd signed up to in an instant. Refreshingly, the neat conceptual framework is articulated by a constant flow of examples illustrating what fostering zest might look like in practice. If you worry that your school curriculum doesn't yet fully deliver the deep, rich, contemporary education you're reaching for, then this book - packed with ideas on every page - is the guide you need.-‹
  14. Zest for Learning will inspire, challenge and ultimately blow your mind with its message. The best education book on the market!
  15. Lucas and Spencer present a rich study of pedagogical approaches, exploring what effective, joyful, holistic learning looks like.-‹
  16. -‹Zest for Learning is a powerful book which challenges our preconceptions about the best ways to learn. The practical examples in this book will inspire young people to become more engaged in the big issues which face all of us today.
  17. -‹What Lucas and Spencer have done so brilliantly with this book is provide us with an illustrated map for the journey we need to make as we try to dramatically improve the quality of the learning that all young people receive, wherever they are in the world.

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