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Thursday / September 21

Challenging Professional Learning

At Challenging Learning, we believe that for many schools the Learning Challenge can be a useful concept around which leaders and teachers cultivate their values, attitudes, and ethos towards learning. By having the Learning Challenge upfront and center, schools are putting the language for learning right at the heart of the school. From there it can be developed, triggering a ripple effect across the school whilst establishing some consistency of how learners and educators use specific language to refer to the learning that is taking place.

Many schools use the Learning Challenge in fantastically creative ways, though some of the best practice we have seen is when schools use the Learning Challenge as a catalyst for school-wide change and professional learning.

At times, during Learning Challenge lessons, learners can appear to be struggling with a concept, when in fact they are just struggling to find the right language to express their understanding.

The more schools use the Learning Challenge the better the likelihood is that they give learners the vocabulary and linguistic tools they need to communicate their understanding of concepts and the ability to identify the thinking skills they are applying within the lesson.

Certain schools have taken the vision of shared practice further and have selected and implemented the Learning Challenge as their strategy for change. These schools recognize that it is critical for their teachers to have ongoing and regular opportunities to learn from each other, and use the Learning Challenge as the vehicle. Whether it be a focus on developing technology tools for the classroom, innovative assessment methods or how to wrap Literacy around the whole curriculum, educators themselves get into the learning pit. It is a comfortable way for them to identify precisely where they are within their own professional development. It is ongoing, experiential, collaborative, and connected to and derived from working with students and understanding the shared culture for learning.

Why is teacher development important? Because learners deserve the best and great teachers help create great learners. 

Listen to James Nottingham talk more on how the Learning Challenge can become that central point with which to build the right attitudes and culture towards learning.

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Written by

Lucy was a Deputy Principal before joining Challenging Learning. Now she is responsible for growing our network of schools; broadening our teaching and learning resources; and extending our consultancy provision in the UK and overseas.

Having trained as a teacher in Leeds, Lucy taught across the primary age range (3-11 year old) in some of the most socially deprived and challenging areas in England. She then completed her NQML (National Qualification for Middle Leadership) and took the position of Deputy Head with a responsibility for raising attainment and progress, particularly in Literacy.

Lucy continues to engage with trends and research connected with learning. She has compared many of the meta-analyses relating to student achievement and adapted current teaching practices in response to the evidence. This is always for the benefit of both staff and students.

Lucy loves the countryside and walking with her two Jack Russells, Mable and Maude. She is also an accomplished and avid horse rider.

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