Modelling Learning Dynamics

Shaofu Huang presented his doctoral research at a seminar of the Centre for Systems Learning and Leadership on Wednesday 24th April. This is an exciting application of complexity theory and systems modelling in the social sciences and demonstrates that for teachers, engaging students in deep learning is complex and unpredictable – more like a design challenge than a script to be followed.

Rethinking Educational Leadership: an open space symposium

In January a group of   experienced practitioners and researchers in education and business met together in an Open Space Symposium designed to bring fresh thinking to the current challenges facing school leaders and to generate new ideas about leadership development.  The Open Space Technology provided a means of capturing the collective intelligence generated by the group in response to the core question. This report Rethinking School Leadership Bristol Leadership Forum Open Space Symposium Report January 2013 is the result of these two days.  It is designed as the beginning of an ongoing conversation.  

The following themes were identified by a thematic analysis of the Open Space Sessions. Key ideas were highlighted and abstracted from their context,  coded on post it notes and collected together. These were then organised into overall themes which cut across most or all Open Space Sessions and framed using the principles of Systems Designing .

  • Developing and maintaining constancy of purpose
  • Leadership which learns
  • Redesigning Curricula for Deep Learning: Learning Architectures
  • Co-Creating Sustainable Learning Systems
  • Deep Listening
  • The Inner World of the Leader
  • Creating Trust within Community
If you would like to join in the discussion and respond, please comment or email us at

Teaching for Effective Learning: South Australia Department for Education and Children’s Services

Visiting Fellow Chris Goldspink presents the research and practice from the Teaching for Effective Learning Programme in South Australia at the Centre for Systems Learning and Leadership at the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol in March 2012.

The Teaching for Effective Learning Framework was developed as a part of ongoing enquiry in South Australia into the nexus between how teachers design and orchestrate learning and learner engagement. The framework was developed through consultation with international researchers, as well as local leaders and skilled practitioners, about the essential elements of quality practice. The framework provides means of measuring quality of practice through systematic observation of teaching practice and been demonstrated to be valid and reliable in this role. It supports the collection of data for research purposes but also provides a means for teachers to observe and be observed by peers, supporting deeper reflection on professional practice and providing a rich language about quality practice to support professional learning communities and individual professional development. Chris was involved in the research which led to the design of the framework as well as in its testing and use both for research and professional development purposes.

Ngambara Fimityatit: Learning Together in Daly River

These murals of a Barramundi and a Brolga have been painted by the community in Daly River, Northern Territory, Australia, to remind everyone about how the community and the children in St Francis Xavier Catholic School are learning and achieving together.  The project, led by Miriam Rose Bauman and Julianne Willis, draws everyone in the school community together to engage in learning and change.  The vision of the project is summed up in the title Ngamara Fimityatit – which means

When we learn together, sharing + living the same language for learning, we will be empowered to create a new story for our future…

It’s about bringing together local traditional knowledge systems with 21century ideas about learning, in order to empower and engage a new generation. For more details of the project you can read the latest update about how  the whole community is engaged in a process of merging two streams into a third way.  Watch the video below made by the students in the school to show how we learn together in Daly River….Animal Powers…..

Ngambara Fimityatit October 2012

Pedagogy of Hope

Anglican Academy and Secondary School Heads 2012 Conference 

The seminar outlined the key ideas from research projects tracking back to 2000 and present the idea the learning is a journey of Authentic Enquiry, which moves from the personal to the public. It starts with identity, story and purpose, moves through learning power and the personal qualities needed for engagement in new learning opportunities, the selection, manipulation and generation of knowledge for a chosen purpose, and culminates in competence – the capability to engage in the real world. From a learners perspective it completes the following: I AM, I CAN, I KNOW, I SERVE.

For more details of the research behind these ideas check out the publications and absracts on this site..