The sky’s the limit

There is no limit to what someone can achieve. LWL from the research to the ideal school

The Learning Without Limits (LWL) project is based on the idea of transformability and by the concept of learning capacity that is very different from the concept of ability.

Transformability is a firm conviction that there is the potential for change, that things can change and be changed for the better, sometimes even dramatically, as a result of what people do in the present.bookcover1small Learning capacity is transformable because the forces that shape it are, to an extent, within teachers’ control. In contrast with the implied fatalism of ability labels. Teachers who built their pedagogy around ability labels influence negatively in young people’s self-belief, sense of personal competence, attitudes, expectations and hopes for the future. Ability labels explain differences in young people’s learning and attainment due to fixed differences in intellectual endowment. A young student with ‘low ability’ now, in the present, is assumed to have more limited potential than others who are judged to be ‘average’ or ‘more able’ and the expectation is that these differences will persist and be reflected in comparable differences in academic performance in the future: the self-fulfilling prophecy (achieving fulfillment as a result of having been expected or foretold).

bookcover2_smallCreating Learning without Limits (CLwL) builds on the Learning without Limits study by exploring the wider opportunities for enhancing the learning capacity of every child that become possible when the educational community work together to create an environment free from the limiting effects of ability labels and practices.

CLwL was set up to explore the process of whole-school development driven by the core idea of transformability: the conviction that all children (not just some children) can become more powerful, committed, successful learners given distinctive supportive conditions and generous opportunities for learning.

Wroxham classroom

Mr Davy at Wroxham school

CLwL builds on the Learning without Limits study by exploring the wider opportunities for enhancing the learning capacity of every child that become possible when a whole staff group works together to create an environment free from the limiting effects of ability labels and practices.

The Creating Learning without Limits project was based at the University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education, in collaboration with colleagues at The Wroxham School, Hertfordshire. Dame Alison Margaret Peacock is co-author of Creating Learning without Limits, and Executive Headteacher of The Wroxham Teaching School. 

Dame_Alison_Peacock

“Dame Alison Peacock” by Lee Allan – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The following short passages are taken from an interview with Dame Alison on The Guardian on March 29th.

The headteacher [Alison Peacock] says she never set out to get rid of ability labelling at the school. It grew from conversations with staff, and when it worked the idea was developed. Pupils are never set tasks by ability. Topics are taught to the whole group and students are then chosen from a range of activities of varying complexity. If they begin a piece of work and think they could try something more difficult, or need something easier, they can change”… “The assumption that you can reliably put a number against what a child is capable of is flawed and dangerous. Potentially, it leads to the individual and the people around them having a very limited set of expectations.” She believes it is detrimental even if the student is given a high grade, pointing to research by Carol Dweck from Stanford University to illustrate this. When two groups of children were given a complex mathematical task, the group that was told they had good problem-solving skills progressed much further than the group that was simply told they were very good at maths…. “If teachers feel constrained, judged and labelled, then they can’t lift the limits on pupils,” she says. Extracts from http://www.theguardian.com/

Taking inspiration from the book Creating Learning without Limits, the University of Cambridge Primary School (UCPS) is the first primary to open as one of the government’s flagship university training schools and was set up as a free school. The UCPS will be governed by a charitable trust, UTS Cambridge. The school will be a mixed-ability co-educational school for children aged three – 11 and it will be highly inclusive where pupil diversity is welcomed and children will be encouraged and enabled to excel.The school will focus on exemplary teaching, high-quality governance and innovative learning practice. The Trust is delighted that these plans have been approved. They are high-quality, innovative and inclusive, reflecting the planned character of University of Cambridge Primary School.Uni Cambs primary school 01 site plan

The three-form entry primary school will open in phases from September 2015 and will serve the development site and a local catchment.

The information used in this post is excerpted from the following sites with non-commercial purposes:

http://learningwithoutlimits.educ.cam.ac.uk/

http://learningwithoutlimits.educ.cam.ac.uk/about/key.html

http://learningwithoutlimits.educ.cam.ac.uk/creatinglwl/

http://thewroxham.org.uk/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alison_Peacock

http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2015/mar/29/label-child-ability-flawed-dangerous

http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2015/mar/17/design-primary-school-learning-no-limits

http://www.nwcambridge.co.uk/news/primary-school-designs-approved

Sayings, Idioms, Quotes and Proverbs

A saying is a short, clever expression that usually contains advice or expresses some obvious truth. An idiom is a group of words in current usage having a meaning that is not deducible from those of the individual words. A quote (or “quotation”) is usually a short text written or spoken by one (usually famous) person and often repeated or at least known by others. And a proverb is a phrase expressing a basic truth which may be applied to common situations.

Many idioms originated as quotations from well-known writers such as Shakespeare. For example, “at one fell swoop” comes from Macbeth and “cold comfort” from King John. Sometimes such idioms today have a meaning that has been altered from the original quotation.

It’s high time we start with the examples because we haven’t got a “whale of time” and “Time is gold ….”

 Time is gold, don't waste it, don't take it for granted, always make the best of it... 'cause you never know when you might run out of it.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

It’s one of the most recognizable expressions around: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But besides the fact that it rhymes, which makes it fun to say and easy to recall, does it really have any value? Could the common apple honestly help a person to maintain perfect health? It’s unlikely that the saying would have maintained such popularity if there wasn’t some truth to it.

When the opportunity knocks I answer the door naked. 

You will only have one chance to do something important or profitable. Some say opportunity knocks only once, others say that opportunity knocks all the time, but you have to be ready for it. If the chance comes, you must have the equipment to take advantage of it. But there is another formulation of the proverb: If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.

“The world’s my oyster” William Shakespeare quote

If you boast that “The world’s my oyster” nowadays, you’re claiming that the world’s riches are yours to leisurely pluck from the shell. “The world’s my oyster” has become merely a conceited proclamation of opportunity and means that one rules the world, one is in charge of everything. 

“Better to walk without knowing where than to sit doing nothing” Tuareg Proverb

On the one hand, when we sit for long periods, circulation is constricted, metabolism slows, muscles shut off and connective tissue tightens…..uffff¡¡¡ Bad news for your health. On the other hand, and on  another quotation: “Keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths“. Walt Disney

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. Confucius.

Everything has an intrinsic value. But the valuation is subjective, not objective. In others words or in other saying: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Different people have different ideas about what is beautiful.

You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours; quid pro quo

This for that; giving something to receive something else; something equivalent; something in return.

No pain, no gain

One must be willing to endure some inconvenience or discomfort in order to achieve worthwhile goalsRelated terms:

If one takes no risks, one will not gain any benefits.

To be on cloud number nine

A state of happiness, elation or bliss; to be on seventh heaven (the outermost of the heavenly spheres; a dwelling of the angels)

Every cloud has a silver lining

Means that you should never feel hopeless because difficult times always lead to better days. Difficult times are like dark clouds that pass overhead and block the sun.

Why? When we look more closely at the edges of every cloud we can see the sun shining there like a silver lining.

People sometimes say that every cloud has a silver lining to comfort somebody who’s having problems. They mean that it is always possible to get something positive out of a situation, no matter how unpleasant, difficult or even painful it might seem.