Edfest: Guy Claxton

Claxton was so popular in his first session that Katie Price was bumped into lunch and he’s repeating his session, which is again full. He starts by talking about useful attitude for life.


This is familiar from Bill Lucas at TLAB13.

What do our children need to flourish in the 21st century and how can we give it to them? Disadvantaged youngsters often don’t have a social safety net, so they need more grit, more social intelligence and more self-control than wealthy kids (Paul Tough). Resilience is key to help students achieve at university. Teachers should provide opportunities to develop resilience and resourcefulness.

gordonstoun have been working with Building Learning Power for a few years and have seen the impact on their results. Upskilling instead of promoting knowledge acquisition is cited as the key here, but Claxton says he’s not changing the frame – he’s making it larger. Not sure, but think he means knowledge is important but skills must be included.

Schools should become powerful incubators of powerful habits of the mind. Claxton shares some insightful student comments about resilience and its importance.


Claxton references Carole Dweck’s work on the old theory of intelligence and how talking about the brain as a series of learning muscles reframes the process of making mistakes as training, rather than a negative reflection of a fixed ability.

He shares an example of youth teams of the premiere league, who reframe activities to ensure they remain sufficiently challenging to stretch them and low them to improve. Then references Hattie taking about great impact of teachers constantly tinkering at school and improving the curriculum for students.

Good leadership vital to facilitate this. Another drum well-beaten today. Habit change is also important.


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