The wicked problem of learning

Best bets

Sometimes we are so deep in an orthodoxy we cannot see it.

In their new book, Becky Allen, Matthew Evans and Ben White give us ways to question how we see and think about our schools.

They combine a visit to the museum (a history of school improvement policy waves), research from Teacher Tapp surveys, and the lens of complexity and systems theory, with analysis of the perspectives of economics, sociology, psychology, educationalists, headteachers, school leaders and teachers. They share some powerful concepts (like patch-making, creeping managerialism and shadow boxing), vivid metaphors (waves, maps, patches, miracles, hill-climbing, waltzes, helicopters, foxes and hedgehogs feature) and a rousing call to action.

Here are some of their concepts, questions and insights.

What can’t we fully know? Where are we under the illusion of knowledge?

Learning is invisible. The human brain is complex.

Can ‘progress’, or even who’s learning what exactly, be fully known?

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