I have been out and about this week and reflecting on the theory of the love of learning and what that actually means. How do we in school, cultivate a love of learning capitalising on the moments where teachers and parents kindle the fire of a child’s curiosity? Many parents and teachers are committed to developing lifelong learners, but what does this mean? How do you know if your child or student is on that track to be a lifelong learner, not really one of those things that is measurable, but is certainly tangible.

I was on the train to one of our schools on Wednesday morning and shared a carriage with two students from La Sainte Union for about twenty minutes, they were absolutely engrossed in a conversation, not a mobile phone in sight, discussing their learning and homework. It was like a mini peer-to-peer tutorial, where they explored previous learning about trigonometry, how they had applied their learning, but got to the same answers using a different methodology. The two of them were inquisitive about each other’s learning style and undertook an absolute dissection of the collective thinking processes. It was fascinating to observe and listen to, but really made me think that this is the cultivation of a love of learning. So how does this progress and develop into lifelong learning? A Camden Learning colleague, Owen Rees, has an insatiable appetite for books and works his way through volumes of books during his daily commute. I was talking to him about a book he had just recently purchased and he described his criteria for choosing his latest read, which was simple, the longest book and most difficult text that he could find! He challenges himself to read the most diverse and alternative genres to further his own thinking and learning.

This is the curiosity that when nurtured, captured, and directed results in a love of learning. This, I believe, is the primary role of a teacher — to capture curiosity and ignite the internal fires of learning. Three areas I think that cultivate a lifelong, love of learning:

  1. Chase the Questions-The first step for parents and teachers to cultivate a love of learning is invite questions, and then chase them. Chasing questions means following them to find the other questions that emerge from an initial question.
  2. Offer Choice-In order to become lifelong learners, our pupils need opportunities to pursue their curiosities and interests. We have so much to offer locally as a Camden curriculum that encourages leaders and teachers to design a sequence of learning, that align to standards and experiences that are responsive to student interests.
  3. Find the Moments-The moments to cultivate a lifelong learner might be found in the dinner hall, or when you’re walking your class somewhere and a pupil asks a question about the weather or an item in the news. We as teachers, social workers, family workers and parents listen and look for the moments where we can kindle the fire of a child’s curiosity. There are so many every day, and each of those can generate countless of questions.

What are you curious about?

If you are curious and inquisitive about the new proposed Ofsted framework and would like to contribute to the Camden Learning response to the consultation, we have planned two open sessions for heads and governors to come together. A session for Primary Heads and governors will be held on Tuesday 12th March at 5:15pm 11th floor, 5PS and on Thursday 14th March for Secondary Heads and governors at 5pm Conference room, Crowndale Center. Special Heads and governors can join either of the sessions and if you cannot attend one of the dates, we can always accommodate you at the other.

Jon Abbey

Managing Director, Camden Learning

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