"The style and language used by the authors make the book readable and therefore a book that practising teachers can actively use as a guide to improve their practice ...it is amply demonstrated that teaching can and should be an activity whose primary focus is to enhance students' learning capacity and not limit it." Journal of Inservice Education
Why do some teachers insist on teaching without recourse to judgements about ability?
What are the key principles on which they draw as they organize and provide for learning?
What is the significance of their alternative approach for classrooms in the 21st century?
This book explores ways of teaching that are free from determinist beliefs about ability. In a detailed critique of the practices of ability labelling and ability-focussed teaching, Learning without Limits examines the damage these practices can do to young people, teachers and the curriculum. Drawing on a research project at the University of Cambridge, the book features nine vivid case studies (from Year 1 to Year 11) that describe how teachers have developed alternative practices despite considerable pressure on them and on their schools and classrooms.The authors analyze these case studies and identify the key concept of transformability as a distinguishing feature of these teachers' approach. They construct a model of pedagogy based on transformability: the mind-set that children's futures as learners are not pre-determined, and that teachers can help to strengthen and ultimately transform young people's capacity to learn through the choices they make. The book shows how transformability-based teaching can play a central role in constructing an alternative improvement agenda.
This book will inspire teachers, student teachers, lecturers and policy makers, as well as everyone who has a stake in how contemporary education and practice affect children's future lives and life chances.
Susan Hart has worked as a teacher and researcher in schools and universities for over 30 years. Her specific area of interest has always been the dynamics of classroom life. She is currently teaching in a college of further education. Annabelle Dixon was trained as an infant teacher, psychologist and educational researcher,and has had a long and varied career in primary schools. She has maintained a life-long stance against streaming, both in theory and in practice. Mary Jane Drummond was an infant teacher for many years before joining what is now the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. She has taught on a variety of professional development courses, specializing in the early years of childhood. Donald McIntyre has been engaged in research into teaching and teacher education for 40 years. His previous publications include Effective Teaching and Learning: Teachers' and Pupils' Perspectives (Open University Press, 1996).
Foreword by Clyde Chitty Acknowledgements Part one: Beyond ability-based teaching and learning Chapter 1: Ability, educability and the current improvement agenda Chapter 2: What's wrong with ability labelling? Chapter 3: The Learning Without Limits project: methods and approaches. Part two: Accounts of the teachers' practices Introduction Chapter 4: Anne's approach: 'They all have their different ways to go'. Chapter 5: Claire's approach: 'a thinking classroom'. Chapter 6: Alison's approach: 'an open invitation.' Chapter 7: Narinder's approach: 'the promise of tomorrow.' Chapter 8: Patrick's approach: 'only connect.' Chapter 9: Nicky's approach: 'Step back and look at the children.' Chapter 10: Yahi's approach: 'raising the level of trust.' Chapter 11: Julie's approach: 'access, security, success.' Chapter 12: Non's approach: 'the bridge between values and practice.' Part three: the core idea of transformability. Chapter 13: Transforming the capacity to learn. Chapter 14: Purposes and principles in practice. Chapter 15: Young people's perspectives on learning without limits. Chapter 16: Framing learning without limits teaching: contexts and retrospectives. Chapter 17: Towards an alternative improvement agenda. Bibliography.