At the heart of learnology is a fundamental belief that:
‘Education is about preparing children for life beyond the walls of the classroom. It is about helping them to build up the mental, emotional, social and strategic resources so that they can enjoy challenge and cope well with uncertainty and complexity’.
This is particularly relevant in a society that is full of change, risk, opportunity and complexity. Learnology is not a quick fix or a bolt on but should be seen as a way of refreshing our thinking about the ethos in our schools and our teaching habits. We need to stop and think about our ultimate aim for the children who leave our school and go beyond the tick lists of ‘key objectives’ and ‘expected progress’. As we prepare children for life beyond school we need to be open to the sometimes difficult, but immensely worthwhile process of change.
Learnology is based on extensive research which comes under the umbrella of cognitive psychology and neuroscience. In the past ten years there has been a wealth of new information about how the brain learns, this is due to the advance in brain imaging technology. Sadly none of this information is being transcended to teachers – who, after all, are the doctors of the learning brain! Learnology aims to share some of this imperative information with teachers so that it has a positive impact on their practice.
How does it work?
The Learnology course usually comprises of four to five sessions. These sessions are delivered to four pupils in either key stage 1 or key stage 2. These pupils are known as the ‘Leaders of Learning’ (LOL). In the past one school has hosted the sessions and invited a number of primary and often secondary school pupils to attend; each school sending their LOL and a teacher. The sessions have been tailored so that both key stage one and two pupils can understand the content.
The Learnology workshops have been tailored so that primary school pupils understand the content. It is appealing and accessible for all children, not just the academically labelled ‘more able’. The sessions value more kinds of outcomes than those gained in English, Maths and end of term tests. The aim of the sessions is to equip the LOL with ideas and activities that they can then deliver to their peers back at school. By doing this it allows the teachers to sit back, observe and reflect on the learning skills and process.
Learnology is also about teachers as learners. It is important that teachers come to the sessions with an open mind and the desire to want to try something new in the classroom even if it is a bit risky. As a full time class teacher myself I know how busy teachers are, but part of this process is about teachers viewing themselves as reflective participants – it demands teachers to take risks and seize opportunities. It often means teachers letting go and that in itself can be hard.
So Learnology appeals to anyone who wants to know how to gain a more in-depth approach into how we learn and contribute to the development of life-long learners. Learnology is for those who want more than just quick-fixes; it is for those who seek a sustaining attitude that will lead to cumulative growth in pupil’s real-life confidence, independence and creativity.