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The Learning Power Approach - Book Cover

The Learning Power Approach

Teaching Learners to Teach Themselves

By: Guy L. Claxton

Written by a renowned cognitive scientist, Guy Claxton’s powerful resource will help teachers understand how ‘every lesson, every day’ shapes the way students see themselves as learners.
Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781506388700
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Series: Corwin Teaching Essentials
  • Year: 2017
  • Page Count: 288
  • Publication date: October 18, 2017

Price: $29.95

Price: $29.95
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Become mind-fit for life!

Learning is learnable! Educators can explicitly teach not just content, knowledge and skills, but also positive learning attitudes and habits of mind. Guy Claxton’s The Learning Power Approach will help teachers understand how ‘every lesson, every day’ shapes the way students see themselves as learners. This is the beauty of the Learning Power Approach: it is something all teachers can integrate into their daily practice. Claxton’s work helps us notice ‘what lies beneath’ the surface of our teaching and attend more closely to the way we shape dispositions and attitudes. Readers will find:  

approaches focused on building character alongside knowledge acquisition
cognitive, social and neuroscientific supportive evidence
practical illustrations and strategies

Written by a renowned cognitive scientist, this book offers a ground-breaking set of design principles for strengthening students’ learning muscles.

"This is the beauty of the Learning Power Approach. It is not a program, not a subject, not an add-on - it is something all teachers can integrate into their practice on a daily basis. Claxton’s work helps us notice ‘what lies beneath’ the surface of our teaching and to attend much more closely to the way we shape dispositions and attitudes to learning."  
Kath Murdoch, Education Consultant
University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia



Key features

The Learning Power Approach series will
  • Draw on an unusually wide range of cognitive, social and neuroscientific research, highlighting the importance of emotion, embodiment, intuition, visualisation and collaboration, as well as resilience and critical thinking.
  • Distil the commonalities to create a ‘broad church’ of approaches that focus deliberately, systematically, effectively and demonstrably on building ‘learning character’ alongside the acquisition of knowledge and the pursuit of grades.
  • Include practical illustrations and strategies from practitioners


Guy L. Claxton photo

Guy L. Claxton

Guy Claxton is Professor of the Learning Sciences at the University of Bristol Graduate School of Education, where he directs the research initiative on Culture, Learning, Identity and Organisations (CLIO). His books include The Wayward Mind: An Intimate History of the Unconscious (2005), Learning for Life in the 21st Century: Sociocultural Perspectives on the Future of Education (2002, co-edited with Gordon Wells), Wise Up: Learning to Live the Learning Life (1999) and the best-selling Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind: Why Intelligence Increases When You Think Less (1997). His current work focuses on the development of infused approaches to the cultivation of positive lifelong learning dispositions in schools. The resulting 'Building Learning Power' approach has influenced practice in schools throughout the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



About the Author

Chapter 1. The Origins of the Learning Power Approach

     Nuclear Family


     Friends and Neighbors

     Near Misses

     A Socket Set

Chapter 2. What Is Learning?

     Why Do We Learn?

     When Do We Learn?

     What Is the Launchpad for Learning?

     What Do Learners Actually Do?

     The Beginnings of Learning Power

     So Can You Get Better at Learning?

     What Kinds of Learning Are Going On in Classrooms?

Chapter 3. What Exactly Is the Aim of the Learning Power Approach?

     Diving In: The Aim of the Learning Power Approach

     Some Flesh on the Bones

Chapter 4. How Do I Get Started? Some Quick Wins

     The LPA Menu du Jour

     Curious, Adventurous, Determined, Collaborative: A Starter Kit of Learning Dispositions

     A Reflective Exercise

Chapter 5. Why Does Learning Power Matter? 10 Good Reasons for Pumping Those Learning Muscles

     1. Because Life Is Complicated

     2. Because Learning Power Makes the World a Safer Place

     3. Because We Won’t Always Be There

     4. Because Good Learners Are More Successful in Life

     5. Because Employers Want to Hire Powerful Learners

     6. Because Powerful Learners Do Better in School

     7. Because Powerful Learners Do Better in College

     8. Because It Makes Teaching Easier and More Rewarding

     9. Because People Are Happier When They Are Learning

     10. Because Young People’s Mental Health Depends Upon Their Learning Power

Chapter 6. What Is Learning Power Made Of?

     The Elements of Learning Power

Chapter 7. Learning Power in Action: Some Classroom Illustrations

Chapter 8. Design Principles of the LPA Classroom

     1. Create a Feeling of Safety

     2. Distinguish Between Learning Mode and Performance Mode

     3. Organize Compelling Things to Learn

     4. Make Ample Time for Collaboration and Conversation

     5. Create Challenge

     6. Make Difficulty Adjustable

     7. Show the Innards of Learning

     8. Make Use of Protocols, Templates, and Routines

     9. Use the Environment

     10. Develop Craftsmanship

     11. Allow Increasing Amounts of Independence

     12. Give Students More Responsibility

     13. Focus on Improvement, Not Achievement

     14. Lead by Example

Chapter 9. What Is the Evidence for the Learning Power Approach?

     Does Curiosity Affect Learning?

     What About Concentration?

     Can Learners’ Resilience Be Deliberately Increased?

     Does Resilience Contribute to Raising Achievement in School?

     Does Imagination Improve Learning and Creativity, and Can People Get Better at Imagining?

     Do Deliberate Attempts to Teach Students to Think Clearly Work? And Do They Improve School Performance?

     What About Collaboration?

     Does the Same Apply to Empathy?

     Does Reflection Aid Learning?

     Does Learning Power Developed in One Context Transfer to Other Contexts?

Chapter 10. Distinctions and Misconceptions

     Focus on Learning Power, Not Just Learning

     Learning, Not Thinking

     Learning Dispositions Are Malleable, Not Fixed

     Is the LPA “Traditional” or “Progressive”?

     Evidence, Not Measurement

     Precision About Language

     Learning Muscles and the Mind Gym

     Pedagogy Rules

     It’s Not Just Classrooms; It’s the Ethos of the Whole School

     Provisional and Growing, Not Set in Stone

Chapter 11. Joining the Culture Club

Bibliography and References

Resources and Further Reading