Last Wednesday I attended a afternoon and evening conference with Guy Claxton, on the topic 'Building Learning Power'. He talked about 4 generations of professional change:
1 Scratch generation- what the culture is about, examinations and behaviour.
2 Hints and tips - this is where teachers attend workshops and get little things we can add on to our repertoire of teaching skills and strategies, such as mind maps, thinking tools etc. It's about how to organise and retrieve information in a better way.
3 Generation of thinking and learning skills - very cognitively focused on thinking and often involving stand alone strategies. According to Claxton, these tend not to last, to spread or to deepen. "The long term evidence is not good." He talked about how to move from a language of skills to a language of dispositions.
4 Infused Learning - this is the move to more powerful habits of minds/ dispostions.
One research anecdote he used is based on the experience that every school's mission statement, vision, and teacher talk features the word 'learning'. A researcher sat in the back of classrooms noting the times that the words 'learning' and 'work' were used by teachers. You guessed it; learning was used 2% of the time. Everything else uttered by teachers was "get on with your work", "get back to work", show me your work", "are you having trouble with your worlk", you need to work harder".
His question: "Why don't we use the word learning if we think it's important."
I'm thinking it's the incongruence students often experience between what their teachers say and what they do.
When teachers learn more about learning the effectiveness of a school improves and learning follows.