Effective Learning in Classrooms
Publication Year: 2007
Presents case studies and examples from practitioners and examines the four major dimensions of advancing real learning: active learning, collaborative learning, learner-driven learning, learning about learning.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
Part I: Your Context and your Experience
- Chapter 1: Learning in Classrooms – What's the Best We Know?
- Learning from the best of our experience
- Looking ahead
- Chapter 2: What is Effective Learning in Classrooms?
- Conceptions of learning
- The effect of context
- Inquiring into conceptions and contexts
- Models of learning
- Models and classrooms
- Effective learning
- The wider context
- Concluding thoughts
- Chapter 3: What do we see in Classrooms? – Ways of Seeing
- The need for a better way of looking
- The shift to focus on the classroom
- Learners’ views of the classroom and learning
- Different views of learning – different ways of seeing
- Chapter 4: Faster Learning, Better Teaching, More Testing, Higher Scores: The Big Picture and its Effects on Learning in Classrooms
- The effects of testing and the emphasis on test performance
- Defensive teaching
- Learning in the performance context
- A focus on teaching not learning
- Grouping by ‘ability’
- Curriculum distortions
- Target setting
- Three more distractions from learning
- Concluding thoughts: tensions for teachers
- Chapter 5: Working Against the Grain
- Three examples of working against the grain
- What these stories can help us learn
- Concluding thoughts
Part II: Classroom Processes for Promoting Effective Learning
- Chapter 6: Active Learning
- Active learning: what do we mean?
- Activity and effective learning: what's the link?
- Variations in active learning
- Active learning: a core process
- Evidence of effects
- Voices against change
- Teachers making the change
- Chapter 7: Collaborative Learning
- Collaboration – what do we mean?
- Collaboration and effective learning – what's the link?
- Facilitating collaboration in the classroom: interaction, task and structure
- Learning about collaborative learning
- Collaborative learning: evidence of effects
- Voices against change
- Teachers making the change
- Chapter 8: Learner-Driven Learning
- What do we mean by learner-driven learning?
- What's the link with effective learning?
- Facilitating learner-driven learning in the classroom
- Purpose and choice
- Choice and planning to learn
- Voice and review
- Evidence of effects
- Voices against change
- Teachers making the change
- Chapter 9: Learning about Learning
- What do we mean by learning about learning?
- What's the link with effective learning?
- Facilitating learning about learning in the classroom
- Evidence of effects
- Voices against change
- Teachers making the change
- Chapter 10: Reclaiming Assessment to Promote Effective Learning
- Exploring different conceptions of assessment
- How can assessment support effective learning?
- Classroom assessment strategies
- Assessment that is connected, embedded and authentic
- Making marking meaningful for learning
- Concluding thoughts
Part III: The Future in Context
- Chapter 11: Being Exceptional
- Learning from the best of your past
- Looking ahead: your vision for classrooms in the future
- Issues in thinking about changing classrooms
- Working against the grain – what have we learned?
- Making a change – the content
- Making a change – the process
- Effective learning for teachers
- Author Index
- Subject Index
Learning in the Classroom[Page ii]
This book addresses the central issue of classrooms, and the issue which is too seldom addressed: learning. We do not mean teaching, we do not mean performance, we do not mean ‘work’. This book is really about learning in classrooms, what makes learning effective and how it may be promoted in classrooms.
This book takes the special context of the classroom seriously, not only because of its effects on teachers and pupils, but because classrooms are notorious as contexts which change little. Readers will not be offered yet more tips, but real thinking and evidence based on what we know about how classrooms change. Four major dimensions of promoting effective learning in classrooms are handled in depth.
Throughout the book there are two forms of evidence: evidence from practising teachers in the form of case studies and examples, and evidence from international research in the form of useful ideas and frameworks.
Chris Watkins is a reader in education and Drs Carnell and Lodge are senior lecturers at the University of London Institute of Education. They have been course leaders for the MA in Effective Learning, the MA in School Effectiveness and School Improvement, and the Advanced Diploma in Learning and Teaching. They have also led a range of projects with schools and local authorities, all of which focus on learning.
© Chris Watkins, Eileen Carnell and Caroline Lodge 2007
First published 2007
Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted, in any form or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Inquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.
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ISBN-13 978-1-4129-0071-3 (pbk)
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Printed in Great Britain by Athenaeum Press, Gateshead
Printed on paper from sustainable resources
List of Tables and Figures[Page viii]
- Table 2.1 Three models of learning 15
- Table 2.2 Effective learning and learners 19
- Table 2.3 Hofstede's cultural dimension considered in relation to effective learning 21
- Table 3.1 Images of the classroom and visions of the learner (after Getzels, 1977) 26
- Table 4.1 Learning and performance orientations (from Watkins et al., 2002, based on Dweck) 46
- Table 4.2 Teachers’ tensions (following Marble et al., 2000) 54
- Table 6.1 Pupils’ most frequent classroom activities 70
- Table 6.2 Brief examples of active learning in a range of subjects 76
- Table 10.1 Four levels of assessing oneself as a learner 150
- Table 10.2 Developing skills of assessment 151
- Table 10.3 The ‘habits of mind’ framework (Costa and Kallick, 2000) 152
- Table 11.1 Issues in making changes in classrooms 165
- Figure 2.1 Conceptions, actions and context of learning 13
- Figure 2.2 A 10 year-old's drawing of a learning occasion (Harris, 2002) 13
- Figure 2.3 Another 10 year-old's drawing of a learning occasion (Harris, 2002) 14
- Figure 2.4 A 6 year-old's drawing of learning (Bonnell, 2003) 16
- Figure 3.1 Stacey's drawing of learning in the classroom 28
- Figure 3.2 Ella's drawing of learning in the classroom 29
- Figure 3.3 Child's drawing of contrasting classrooms (i) 31
- Figure 3.4 Child's drawing of contrasting classrooms (ii) 32
- Figure 3.5 Child's drawing of contrasting classrooms (iii) 33
- Figure 6.1 A model of the activities involved in a learning process 77
- Figure 7.1 Images of cooperation and collaboration 88 [Page ix]
- Figure 7.2 Peers as the bridge between private and public 94
- Figure 7.3 The structure of groups in a jigsaw classroom 97
- Figure 8.1 Classroom practices and the effects of learner-driven learning 117
- Figure 9.1 Meta-learning as an additional cycle in learning 129
- Figure 10.1 Shared principles of curriculum theories, psychological theories and assessment theory characterising an emergent, constructivist paradigm (Shepard, 2000) 145
- Figure 10.2 Two examples of pupils’ quality criteria 148
- Figure 10.3 Four possible states of the learner 154
Preface[Page xi]Why this Book?
To our knowledge this is the only book for teachers which:
Who are the Authors?
- takes seriously the complexity of the classroom
- understands the way that classroom practices do (and do not) change
- is based on a twenty first century understanding of learning
- offers a comprehensive range of suggestions for classroom practice
- is evidence-rich in two senses: research evidence and professional evidence.
This book is written by three colleagues who, amongst other things, have recently been leading the following courses at the University of London Institute of Education:
MA in Effective Learning
MA in School Effectiveness and School Improvement
Professional Diploma in Learning and Teaching
These are not dry academic courses – quite the opposite. Many teachers from the UK and all over the world who take them describe them as challenging and re-professionalising.
The authors also lead projects and short courses with many teachers, schools and local authorities in England and Wales.
Between them their experience as professional educators amounts to about a hundred years – and never the same one twice.Why Now?
The contents of this book would be appropriate at any time, but in England and [Page xii]other countries there is an extra reason which is current: many classrooms have reverted to a form of operation which is centuries old and which does not prepare young people for the world we live in now. Surveys suggest that a teaching-dominated form has increased in recent years, with a correspondingly passive role for learners. This is not the way to get the high performance, which we all want for all young people, as one of the things they take away from school.
Effective learning is a core process in many domains of life, and school can play a special part in helping learners develop the approaches and understandings which will be effective across their learning landscape.An Outline Map of the Book
The context of the classroom affects a great deal of what teachers and pupils do. It crucially affects the approaches to learning which are adopted. Yet the context of the classroom is rarely addressed when practices for classrooms are suggested by many proponents. Instead of replicating this, we embed our understandings of effective learning in what is known about classrooms.
Part I (Chapters 1 to 5) engages with your experience and your understanding of classrooms, especially in identifying the processes which have been at work when learning has been best in classrooms you know. Then we seek to analyse how classrooms are seen, in order to identify the tensions that teachers face, and the issues when teachers resolve these tensions in a non-traditional way for the purposes of promoting effective learning.
Part II (Chapters 6 to 10) aims to extend your experience with frameworks and ideas from a range of sources, mainly using four headings which regularly arise in teachers’ and pupils’ accounts of the best learning in classrooms. In this part of the book we use a greater balance of evidence from research, because we want no-one to think that these frameworks are not solidly based on dependable evidence. There has been too much advice and instruction to teachers which are based more on ideology than evidence. The last chapter in this section examines the process of assessment and what may be done in classroom practices to reclaim assessment for effective learning.
Part III (Chapter 11) encourages you to take forward the enquiries and experiments which are appropriate for you in classrooms that you know. This will entail doing some things which are not part of the dominant picture in classrooms today, so we encourage you to be exceptional in both senses of the word.
We aim for this book to be thought-provoking, challenging and practically useful. We sincerely hope that you and the pupils you learn with enjoy reclaiming the energy of learning.
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