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Wise-Up: The Challenge of Lifelong learning

Wise Up

Author: Guy Claxton

Review by Roger Elliott

In Search of Solutions

IN HIS latest book, Guy Claxton delves into the world of learning, exposing fallacies that drive our education system and investigating what it takes to be a great learner.

Claxton approaches learning as a whole, rather than just the specific types focused on by schools and universities.

“Learning is a survival strategy that entails risks and promises returns. It demands the ability to tolerate frustration and confusion; to act without knowing what will happen; to be uncertain without becoming insecure.”

Taking this approach, the author explains the characteristics of a good learner, why they are effective and how these characteristics themselves are learned. He investigates the sorts of experiences that lead children to become good learners, and those that can turn kids off learning for life.

Emotional resilience is touted as a key skill in effective learning; the ability to tolerate the confusion inherent in any learning solution for long enough for learning to take place.

And continuing the theme of his previous book ‘Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind’, Claxton emphasizes that learning need not take place quickly, and that intelligence does not mean speed.

The two main benefits conveyed by this fascinating book are the uncovering of the assumptions that lie behind our teaching institutions and a clear explanation of how to improve our own learning ability.

“This is the best book I have read all year” wrote David Hargreaves of Cambridge University, and I am not far from agreeing with him.

Also by Guy Claxton: Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind, The Wayward Mind

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Roger Elliott
Managing Director