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Vlog with Prof. Guy Claxton

Updated: Apr 27

Cognitive scientist, Prof. Guy Claxton shares some of his thoughts, ideas and the research from his new book The Future Of Teaching And The Myths That Hold It Back.

Prof. Guy Claxton


Guy is a cognitive scientist and the author of over 30 books on psychology and education. Guy is currently a visiting Professor at King’s College London.


Among teachers he might be most well-known for pioneering the ‘Learning Power Approach’ which is a way of teaching that helps learners learn how to learn and ultimately teaching learners to teach themselves. Guy’s latest book is called The Future of Teaching and the Myths that Hold It Back and I have literally just finished reading it and I was blown away by it. It was a real honour to have Guy on the Teachappy Vlog and pick his brains about his new book!


The Punch and Judy Show

According to the first chapter in Guy's new book, there has been a 'Punch and Judy' style

fight going on between two extreme approaches in education - traditionalism and progressivism. Guy discusses what this tussle is about and how the vast majority of teachers operate in the middle ground, quietly getting on with teaching children what they need to thrive in the 21st Century, using a mixture of approaches.

What myths exist around cognitive science and learning?

Prof. Dylan Wiliam has written a brilliant foreword for The Future of Teaching.

Three years ago I interviewed Dylan Wiliam who wrote in his last book, 'The point that should guide the whole of education, is that short term memory is limited". I asked Guy if this is true and if the latest fascination with cognitive science and the models of working and long term memory were accurate, and if we should all be adjusting our teaching accordingly. Here's what he had to say...


What knowledge do children need to cope and thrive in the 21st Century?

You might have heard the expression 'knowledge-rich curriculum' a lot over the last few years. Guy believes we need to be careful about the word 'knowledge'. He argues there are broadly three main types and if we mainly focus on one type (factual knowledge), our teaching will adapt to teach that most effectively and we may inadvertently be failing to teach other types of knowledge as well that children need to flourish.

What are the purposes of education and why do 'habits of mind' matter?

How can we have a sensible debate about what knowledge children need to know if we haven't discussed first the purposes of education? Guy believes this is fundamental to knowing what and how we teach. Direct instruction might be a good way of helping children learn and retain factual knowledge but it may harm our instilling of certain character traits or habits of mind children need to flourish in life.


How do we get students in the sweet-spot of challenge and learning?

Guy's previous work has largely focused on 'building learning power' and it's something we believe in at Teachappy as a key part of developing wellbeing. Here, Guy shares how we can create classroom cultures that encourage children to take risks, to embrace challenges and optimise learning.



Adrian Bethune

Adrian is a primary school teacher and author of Wellbeing in the Primary Classroom – A Practical Guide to Teaching Happiness and co-author of A Little Guide To Teacher Wellbeing & Self-Care.



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