About Us

Who we are

The Expansive Education Network is a group of organisations, universities, schools, colleges, and individual teachers whose vision for education requires us to expand our views about 

  • the point of education;
  • the place where learning happens; 
  • the nature of intelligence; 
  • the role of the teacher as a reflective practitioner

The Network provides action research CPD for teachers wishing to learn how to undertake their own disciplined inquiries in one or more of these four areas.  


It is coordinated by The Centre for Real-World Learning at the University of Winchester in collaboration with a number of partner universities across the UK.

 

What do we do

 

In a world where success does not always follow good exam results, where young people are under increasing pressure to the detriment of their mental health, where employers, communities and societies need robust, capable, thinkers and doers:  teachers need to be armed with more than content expertise and behaviour management strategies.

 

This is where we can help.

 

The evidence tells us that teacher-led research is the way forward for school improvement. Teachers plan a change to their practice on the ground, act out the change, observe it carefully, reflect on the process, and repeat. This is the Action Research cycle. It has to be small. It has to be simple. It has to be shared with colleagues and students. It has to be re-iterated until you are happy you’ve got it right. And, we believe, it has to be ‘expansive’ in its focus.

 


 

We teach teachers how to do this.  We provide schools with the opportunity to send some, or all, of their teachers to three twilight – or distance learning – sessions with us, or one of our university partners. Here, we will teach them how to research their own professional practice. We will help them choose a small thing they would like to address in their classrooms that reflects ‘expansive’ values and is manageable. We will coach and support them as they prepare a plan that includes suitable methods for ‘noticing’ the impacts of their research. They will carry out the research, and share it with us and their cohort. Ultimately they will be able to take their learning back into school to share and embed good practice.

 

What do we believe

 

Research in the learning sciences, neuroscience, psychology and education in recent decades has shown what good teachers know: children and young people need to become better at thinking, and better at learning, if they are to do well not just in class and in high stakes exams, but out there in the real world; the one we’re preparing them for.

 

This is not about bringing in technology to stimulate bored students – though students will be reinvigorated. It’s not about pushing up reading levels – though it will probably do that too. It’s not about ‘engagement’ for engagement’s sake – though you’ll find your learners showing deep interest and even passion for learning if you get it right.

 

This is about taking each lesson and thinking: how can I use this lesson as an opportunity to develop a love of learning in my pupils? How can I teach them to think better; to ‘notice’ what they’re doing and care about the process of drafting? How can I instil an attitude that only ‘excellence’ is good enough and pride in your work is an amazing feeling? How can I tweak this lesson to bring in more opportunities for students to reflect on one another’s work?

 

Becoming a better learner doesn’t happen by accident, or as a by-product of teaching the National Curriculum. We believe that teachers need to take a dispositional approach to teaching. This means that alongside their very valuable subject content, they will also be teaching learners to be more reflective, to ask better questions, to notice more carefully, to be better observers, to be more critical thinkers, to be more self-controlled, to be proactive and determined and resilient… The list of desirable dispositions, or ‘habits of mind’ goes on.  

 

Our vision stands on the shoulders of many others, several of whom are part of the partnership of universities and partner organsations who are building and growing EEDNET, and many of whom you will have heard: expert thinkers like Professors Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, Carol Dweck, Michael Fullan, Howard Gardner, John Hattie, Ellen Langer, David Perkins, Lauren Resnick, Sir Ken Robinson, Martin Seligman, Robert Sternberg and Dylan Wiliam.

 

Whether through a focus on critical thinking, bringing philosophy into schools, developing character, improving  creative thinking, focusing on problem solving, teaching resourcefulness, learning about optimism, managing emotion, or restructuring the way space and time work in your organisation, there are many paths to instilling sound habits of mind for learning.

 




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Upcoming events

22 Nov 2017 4:00 PM • University of Winchester, West Down Campus, Main Building, Room 111
17 Jan 2018 4:30 PM • Holme Grange School, Heathlands Road, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 3AL
24 Jan 2018 4:00 PM • University of Winchester, Main Building, West Down Campus, Romsey Road, Winchester, SO22 5HT

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