David Crabtree: How learning from our learners can make us better teachers

David Crabtree looks at how teaching to support learners with specific learning difficulties can benefit all learners in the class.

The underlying premise is that teaching and learning aimed at supporting learners with specific learning differences (SpLD) benefits all learners in the class. As the lead on the University of Westminster AchieveAbility project in schools, David Crabtree developed a set of classroom tools and approaches proven to be successful with SpLD learners and applied these to whole class teaching. The project demonstrated that by incorporating these, teachers can have a big impact upon the achievement of all learners. Furthermore, they can also improve the educational experience of SpLD learners to enable them to bring their strengths to the classroom.

This presentation includes discussion around the following questions:

  • Do we know what we mean by learning? (and, what can we learn about learning from those who learn differently?)
  • Do we teach? (and, what do we understand by the term ‘teaching’ especially when we consider that all learners learn differently)
  • What is knowledge? (and, more importantly, what do we know about how the brain stores knowledge?)
  • Can we construct a simple model of learning? (given that learning is a ‘mysterious’ process)
  • How could we use such a model?

About the speaker:

David Crabtree is a teacher trainer, his professional practice draws upon successful classroom experience in primary, secondary and higher education and is informed by research and the study of neuro-diversity and learning differences. He has been described as having a transformational approach to classroom practice. At the launch of his publication at the UK House of Commons in December 2005, David said, “We begin to learn about learning itself only when we journey to create inclusive classrooms in which all pupils are successful and all reach their potential”.

As a founder member of AchieveAbility, a UK Higher Education Funding Council project, he devised the ground breaking publication, ‘AchieveAbility Interventions: A Framework for Whole Class Learning'. Other published work includes, ‘A Framework for Whole Institutional Inclusive Teaching Practice’ (2008), and ‘Inclusive Learning in Practice’ (2009).

David is based in the UK providing training at the University of Westminster and has also worked internationally for the Council of Europe and the British Council in Europe, Southern Africa and West Africa, India and the Middle East. He has a BA in Social Sciences, MA in Vocational Education and Training, he qualified as a teacher with a Cert. Ed, gained RSA professional qualification to teach learners with Specific Learning Difficulties, and holds a Diploma of Management.

Watch a recording of the talk below

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