Karen Boyes – MLE

A previous post started my reflection on this webinar from Karen Boyes; however, there is much more running through my head on this topic so here’s part two.

Key themes were revisited from Karen’s breakout I attended at ULearn15. One of the key aspects is of course the thinking dispositions as a central model to student centred learning. This offers us the opportunity to link in with the emotional curriculum and develop students as learners holistically. The habits of mind generate a sensational way of structuring PL and something I’ll be using in my focus group by looking at how we promote each one over the course of the year.


Within this emphasis on the holistic learner, modern learning environments have a different scope for making mistakes. However, traditionally the way we deal with mistakes has negative stigmas attached to it, minimising the opportunity to reframe failure adn use screenshot2012-10-03at11-43-04amit as a learning opportunity. This could manifest in something as simply as giving feedback instead of marks. The mark and grade is for learning purposes, it’s not the final act.

I never learned from winning, except to increase my ego – I learn most from losing – Steve Gurney

Getting comfortable with making mistakes and seeing them as learning opportunities links back to Carol Dweck’s mindset research. To develop growth mindsets we need to praise specific effort because it’s not the outcome but the effort that you put into learning that matters. It’s an ongoing process: what else can we do to reframe mistakes?




A new framework got introduced to me – the line of life. Under the line we find reasons for what has happened: Blame, Excuses, Deny. Above the line we find ownership, accountable, responsible. You’re the victim or the learner. Use the phrase “Live above the line” – call people on their behaviour. Likewise, let them call you on your behaviour and be open to that feedback as a teacher.

Often we learn what we know already, because it’s comfortable and makes us feel great. The challenge is getting students to learn what they don’t know and this is where explicitly teaching study skills is really important. If our learners are just doing what they already know, then what is the point? When they have free choice – what’s the point if all their choice is spent reinforcing their comfort zone?

What can we do? Mandate a different method for showing your learning in different ways to go outside your comfort zone.


Finally, in order for students to step outside their comfort zone, to take ownership of their learning, to be comfortable with mistakes, they need to avoid avoidance. Karen talks about this extensively in this blogpost – it’s a great time.


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