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This book explores ways of teaching that are free from determinist beliefs about ability. In a detailed critique of the practices of ability labelling and ability-focussed teaching, Learning without Limits examines the damage these practices can do to young people, teachers and the curriculum. Drawing on a research project at the University of Cambridge, the book features nine vivid case studies (from Year 1 to Year 11) that describe how teachers have developed alternative practices despite considerable pressure on them and on their schools and classrooms.
The authors analyze these case studies and identify the key concept of transformability as a distinguishing feature of these teachers' approach. They construct a model of pedagogy based on transformability: the mind-set that children's futures as learners are not pre-determined, and that teachers can help to strengthen and ultimately transform young people's capacity to learn through the choices they make. The book shows how transformability-based teaching can play a central role in constructing an alternative improvement agenda.
This book will inspire teachers, student teachers, lecturers and policy makers, as well as everyone who has a stake in how contemporary education and practice affect children's future lives and life chances.
Foreword by Clyde Chitty
Part one: Beyond ability-based teaching and learning
Chapter 1: Ability, educability and the current improvement agenda
Chapter 2: What's wrong with ability labelling?
Chapter 3: The Learning Without Limits project: methods and approaches.
Part two: Accounts of the teachers' practices
Chapter 4: Anne's approach: 'They all have their different ways to go'.
Chapter 5: Claire's approach: 'a thinking classroom'.
Chapter 6: Alison's approach: 'an open invitation.'
Chapter 7: Narinder's approach: 'the promise of tomorrow.'
Chapter 8: Patrick's approach: 'only connect.'
Chapter 9: Nicky's approach: 'Step back and look at the children.'
Chapter 10: Yahi's approach: 'raising the level of trust.'
Chapter 11: Julie's approach: 'access, security, success.'
Chapter 12: Non's approach: 'the bridge between values and practice.'
Part three: the core idea of transformability.
Chapter 13: Transforming the capacity to learn.
Chapter 14: Purposes and principles in practice.
Chapter 15: Young people's perspectives on learning without limits.
Chapter 16: Framing learning without limits teaching: contexts and retrospectives.
Chapter 17: Towards an alternative improvement agenda.