Dr John Taylor is Director of Learning, Teaching and Innovation at Cranleigh School. He has responsibility for the development of independent learning. John works closely with staff, providing professional development opportunities and organising and leading CPD in areas connected to independent learning. He is one of the principal architects of the Extended Project and other project-based qualifications in the UK and he directs the Philosophy in Education project. John writes and speaks about independent learning, project work and philosophical teaching for educational audiences in the UK and overseas.
At Cranleigh, a commitment to the development of the capacity for independent learning is central to the aims of the School. This commitment is based on a belief that education in which young minds are allowed the space for independent, reflective inquiry is both more effective and more enjoyable, as well as being integral to personal development.
In place of being taught what to think, students are taught how to think, in the expectation that they will increasingly take charge of their own learning processes.
Cranleigh’s independent learning model is designed to embed such learning across the curriculum and also to embrace co-curricular contexts.
The Cranleigh model for independent learning places particular emphasis on the power of philosophical questioning, in which deeper questions are explored and the process of thinking itself becomes a subject of study.
The aim of the Cranleigh model for philosophical independent learning is to foster a culture in which the ideal of independent learning is realized through practical, creative innovation in the spheres of pedagogy, curriculum design and professional development.
Learning and Teaching Group
The Learning and Teaching Group was established by the Director of Studies in June 2015.
Adapting a definition from R.J. Alexander:
Pedagogy is not just the ‘surface practice’ of teaching. It is ‘the act of teaching together with its attendant theory and discourse, which are collective, generalisable and open to public scrutiny. It is what one needs to know, and the skills one needs to command, in order to make and justify the many different kinds of decision of which teaching is constituted.
The School strongly believes in continuous professional development; that teachers need to develop their knowledge and beliefs about learning, as well as their practices.
The groups aims are to:
- constantly review School policy and practice in relation to learning and teaching, in order to ensure high quality learning experiences for students of all abilities and aptitudes
- provide a framework for learning and teaching within which there is flexibility and scope for creativity;
- promote an understanding of how learning takes place
- promote reflection on, and sharing of, good practice
- provide coherence of approach and consistency of expectation, without uniformity
- raise attainment by increasing levels of student motivation, participation and independence
- provide practical guidance and clear procedures
- inform teachers, students, parents and governors about the aims and processes of teaching and learning