The development of effective teaching and learning requires consideration of many things: the nature of learners and of knowledge; curriculum, pedagogy and assessment; teachers' own learning; school conditions; and national policy. Often it is the links between these things that matter most. The ESRC project, 'Learning How to Learn in Classrooms, Schools and Networks', investigated some of these connections, and especially the conditions in schools that help to promote learning autonomy in students. The project was part of the UK-wide Teaching and Learning Research Programme, which especially examined the links between evidence and purpose, principles and practice. In her lecture Mary James sets out the background and aims of the Learning How to Learn project and distils a number of key messages for teachers, school leaders, local advisers and school inspectors, teacher educators and policy makers. She argues that it is vital to create the space and climate for managers, teachers, support staff and students to reflect on and share aspects of their practice, especially their learning practice. In this way, new ways of learning and teaching can be tested, embedded and sustained. Without it, they remain surface changes which decay and disappear when the next initiative comes along.
Institute of Education Press