Second Keynote: Bill Lucas

Expansive Education: what is is, why it really matters and what we might like to do about it. @eed_net

We begin with some puzzles to warm up, showing how context is important and it’s important to hold back and consider before making a judgement.

What is important in the classroom?


What kind of learners are we trying to nurture? What kind of life is our pedagogy for? Schools should have images in their mind’s eye of the answer to this question – what will their students become?

The goals of education are broad: they are about creating learners who have the disposition to deal with whatever life throws at them. Learning should go beyond the school and into the home. The heart of expansive education is learning teachers.

Create a combo of exam success and dispositions for learning.

Bill talks about how myths about intelligence can be very corrosive. Intelligence is a product of the habits of the mind: so what students do in class regularly become their habits and their intelligence. We need to develop various habits of the mind. A lot of discipline problems are a result of a resilience breakdown – bad habits.

Make learning objectives dual, traditional and modern – “we’re learning about history and we’re learning about empathy.”

Another reference to developing growth mindsets – we all really love Dweck at this conference, clearly! Students who have a growth mindset do better in public examinations, and become more resilient and effective learners. Describing things in “could be” terms allows learners the space to get involved – it’s not permanent, it’s “not yet”.

At this point I checked the Twitter stream. Lots of people appear to be finding this session challenging. I quite like a lot of what he is saying. Clearly the topic is something that needs to be tempered by one’s own views, though. My favourite bit so far is about dual LOs. I also strongly agree that intelligence is not fixed and a lot of this is about developing intelligence in a variety of ways. I suppose it’s very cerebral and less “at the chalkface” – thinking about was Alistair Smith said about getting the basics right, perhaps there is no point in considering what intelligence looks like until we are achieving the nuts and bolts. But isn’t a view on this the nuts and bolts? Can one teach effectively without having a personal understanding of how students learn and how intelligence is formed?


Bill finishes by talking about Bay House and their journal of educational research, which is published twice a year.

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