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  • dave strudwick

Learnability - A Tool to Support Growth

Learnability is the condition of being learnable. It is often used in relation to software but during a meeting about 5 years ago the term in our school related to our ability to learn through an awareness of ourselves, through our mindset to new experience and by our ability to act. I developed a document with descriptors to help individuals learning. It was misused at times as we explored its potential but at its best it was a really useful coaching tool and something I am looking forward to using this next year again in a school.

The source of my inspiration was David Hemery. I had the absolute privilege to work with David developing a coaching culture in schools as a legacy to the 2012 Olympics. He was not only an Olympic Champion, an accomplished author whilst being dyslexic, and a leader of people, he was much more than that, he was my childhood hero. As I sat on the sofa, next to my dad watching him winning 'Superstars' on the tele as a ten year old I was in awe of this person who was taking on other athletes from different sports and performing with grace, determination and humility. Whilst working with David he expressed that coaching was about raising awareness and taking responsibility. This really stuck with me. His version of coaching supported the person being coached through the asking of really helpful questions, generating feedback and helping you connect to your experience in a new way. David believes there is a spark of greatness in everyone. How right he is.

I thought about the bridge between awareness and responsibility and felt that mindset was critical to taking positive action. I then decided that it would be helpful to have a set of progressive statements to support a parent, teacher, coach to support a child to observe where they were together and what they might focus on to move from one point to a point a little bit further forward. I realised that some people, whatever their age, would be able to self review and move forward. So I share these descriptors freely for others to use and adapt. So we all explore our spark of greatness

A word of warning about the descriptors they are meant to enable and not to be critical, they are not meant to have a numerical value. The progression upwards and downwards is dynamic and in many ways shows you are stretching yourself. You can move up and down within an hour. So it is OK to find new ways of getting stuck and learnability moves as the breeze blows, as we stumble, excite, fly and fall. It is always the relationship which heals, sometimes the relationship to ourselves requires fresh eyes and a new perspective. Wherever you are, at any given moment, remember that learning is a life long pursuit and that failure can indeed be a great teacher. Be open and live well.

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