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The Learning Success Blog

Spoon-feeding students – hand it out, or let them starve?

Posted by Tilly Stevens on June 8, 2017 at 1:32 PM

Tilly Stevens

This idea of “spoon-feeding; students gets kicked around a lot these days. But what really is meant by this phrase? Is it a bad thing and should we stop it? If so, how can we?

In an interview on The Learning Capacity Podcast, learning specialist Richard Andrew described spoon-feeding as:

“Any process which robs students of the opportunity to take responsibility for their own learning.”

According to Richard there are two types of spoon-feeding – explicit and implicit.

Explicit includes behaviour such as providing notes to students so they can “pass” an exam (here Richard really emphasises the idea of merely passing).

Implicit spoon-feeding includes the teacher-centered learning approach that many schools have in place. Through this, teachers teach to or ‘at’ students – “do what I do and know what I know” as Richard puts it.

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Topics: Teaching

Cultures of Thinking: Simon Brooks on Using the Force of Opportunities

Posted by Colin Klupiec on July 3, 2016 at 4:47 PM

Colin Klupiec

Cultures of Thinking is an educational framework that emerged from the work of Ron Ritchhart and the Project Zero team at Harvard University.

On the Learning Capacity Podcast, I have been speaking with educational consultant, Simon Brooks about each of the 8 cultural forces in the framework. In this discussion we look at what it means to create ‘opportunities’ for learning in our classrooms.

This is Part 5 of the 8 part series with Simon Brooks about implementing cultures of thinking in our schools.

Listen to the podcast.

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Topics: School, Learning, Podcasts, Teaching, Cultures of Thinking

Cultures of Thinking: Simon Brooks on using the Force of Time

Posted by Colin Klupiec on June 19, 2016 at 2:55 PM

Colin Klupiec

Ticking away, the moments that make up a dull day. Is that your school day?

Cultures of Thinking is an educational framework that emerged from the work of Ron Ritchhart and the Project Zero team at Harvard University.

In a series of interviews with education consultant Simon Brooks I have been delving into each of the 8 cultural forces that, according to Ron Ritchhart, we must master in order to truly transform our schools.  Simon has spent years implementing cultures of thinking into his classrooms, and now helps teachers introduce the framework in their schools. In this episode of The Learning Capacity Podcast we discuss the cultural force of time.

This is Part 3 of the 8 part series with Simon Brooks about implementing cultures of thinking in our schools. 

Listen to the podcast.

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Topics: School, Learning, Podcasts, Teaching, Cultures of Thinking

Cultures of Thinking: Simon Brooks on Using the Force of Language

Posted by Colin Klupiec on June 16, 2016 at 5:08 PM

Colin Klupiec

The use of language in our schools: Do we take it for granted? 

Cultures of Thinking is an educational framework that emerged from the work of Ron Ritchhart and the Project Zero team at Harvard University.

This article belongs to an 8 part series, based on discussions on The Learning Capacity Podcast where I delve into each of the 8 cultural forces that, according to Ron Ritchhart, we must master in order to truly transform our schools.

My guest in the series is Simon Brooks, who spent years implementing cultures of thinking into his classrooms, and now helps teachers introduce the framework in their schools.

In this series, we take a closer look at practical ways to implement the theory behind it all. This is part 2, where we discuss the cultural force of language.

This is Part 2 of the 8 part series with Simon Brooks about implementing cultures of thinking in our schools. 

Listen to the podcast.


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Topics: School, Learning, Podcasts, Teaching, Cultures of Thinking

Cultures of Thinking: Simon Brooks on Using the Force of ‘Expectations’

Posted by Colin Klupiec on June 13, 2016 at 11:16 AM

Colin Klupiec


Do we have expectations ‘of’ our students, or ‘for’ our students?

My guest in the series is Simon Brooks, who spent years implementing cultures of thinking into his classrooms. He now helps teachers introduce the framework in their schools.

In this series, we’ll take a closer look at practical ways to implement the theory behind it all.

This is part 1 of the 8 part series with Simon Brooks about implementing cultures of thinking in our schools.

In part 1 we discuss the cultural force of expectations.

Listen to the podcast.

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Topics: School, Learning, Podcasts, Teaching, Cultures of Thinking

Special Education Teachers Have Extraordinary Skills

Posted by Peter Barnes on May 3, 2016 at 4:59 PM

Peter Barnes

Unless you are a special education teacher, or are familiar with someone who does this work, you probably have no idea of their extraordinary skills.

Special education teacher, Sophie Murphy, recently handled an inflight emergency that was preventing a plane from landing in Melbourne. What she did to persuade a child with Down Syndrome to get up off the cabin floor and strap into his seat so the plane could land would seem remarkable to most people.

But for Sophie, a teacher with two decades of experience, it was just what special education teachers are trained to do.

Read what she did in this Sydney Morning Herald report.

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Topics: Teaching

Prof John Hattie: What Works Best & What Doesn’t Work in Education

Posted by Colin Klupiec on May 3, 2016 at 10:13 AM

Colin Klupiec

Have you ever wondered what doesn't work and what works best in education?

Well, Professor John Hattie has and in 2015 he wrote about it in two papers:

  • "What doesn’t work in education: The politics of distraction".
  • "What works best in education: The politics of collaborative expertise".

John Hattie is the Director of the Melbourne Educational Research Institute at the University of Melbourne.

He’s also the Chair of the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leaders, and co director of the Science of Learning Research Centre.

His work is known worldwide. 

The titles sound provocative and controversial. But the message is quite simple. One year of input should equal one year of progress, for all students, no matter where they start.

It sounds obvious, but John Hattie argues we are too easily distracted from the real issues. And we don’t harness the power of collaborating with our best educators to create what he calls a "coalition of the successful".

I caught up with John at the Improving Initial Teacher Education conference in Melbourne, in April 2016. He spoke to me on the Learning Capacity podcast where we dug a little bit deeper into these two papers.

Listen to the podcast.

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Topics: School, Learning, Podcasts, Teaching, For Principals

Music Educators Brad Fuller & Peter Orenstein: Collaborative Teaching

Posted by Colin Klupiec on April 28, 2016 at 3:45 PM

Colin Klupiec

Brad Fuller and Peter Orenstein are music educators at Northern Beaches Christian School on the North Shore of Sydney. 

They run a unique music program that seeks to provide a rich environment for music students. Their program is built on a collaborative model of teaching and leadership. 

Brad & Peter use their experiences as musicians to experiment with new ideas for teaching. Whilst there is a curriculum to deliver, the spirit of improvisation is strong in the way they teach it.

They emphasise what they describe as a bi-directional model of leadership. This allows for the free flow of ideas between them and their students.

I spoke to them on the Learning Capacity podcast on site, where all the magic happens. In this episode, Brad and Peter give us an insight into their creative and collaborative space. 

Listen to the podcast:


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Topics: Podcasts, Music, Teaching

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