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Books

I am a prolific author. I've written, co-written or edited getting on for 30 books in my time. They are all non-fiction, and many of them attempts to bring the insights of psychological and other technical literatures to wider audiences, Some are for the general reader; many are for teachers. 

Education

In education, I am best known for developing the concept of ‘learning power’: a collection of skills and attitudes that underpin someone’s ability to tackle complex matters with confidence, capability, and relish. This active engagement is a valuable skill for adults as much as for children in school. It can be taught in the classroom, alongside all the standard subjects, as proven by my work and that of my collaborators.

 

The insights and resources we developed under the ‘brand’ of ‘Building Learning Power’ over a 15-year timespan have been successfully adopted by a number of schools around the world. More recently, international research groups have developed similar theories. Together, they are forming a new school of thought about teaching and learning for the 21st century. I call this ‘The Learning Power Approach’. The books below chart the development of this new way of thinking about the nature and purpose of education. 


Building Learning Power publications and resources can be found at: www.buildinglearningpower.com.

POWERING UP STUDENTS

Foreword by John Hattie

In 'Powering Up Students: The Learning Power Approach to high school teaching', Guy Claxton and Graham Powell detail the small tweaks to daily practice that will help high school teachers boost their students’ learning dispositions and attitudes.

 

The Learning Power Approach (LPA) is a pedagogical formula which aims to develop all students as confident and capable learners – ready, willing, and able to choose, design, research, pursue, troubleshoot, and evaluate learning for themselves, alone and with others, in school and out. This approach, therefore, empowers teachers to complement their delivery of content, knowledge, and skills with the nurturing of positive habits of mind that will better prepare students to flourish in later life. 

 

Building upon the foundations carefully laid in 'The Learning Power Approach', the first book in the Learning Power series, Guy Claxton and Graham Powell’s 'Powering Up Students' embeds the ideas of this influential method in the context of the high school.

POWERING UP CHILDREN

With a foreword by Ron Berger (the 'Austin's Butterfly' man)
In Powering Up Children, Guy Claxton and Becky Carlzon harness the design principles of the LPA to provide a rich compendium of effective teaching strategies for use in the primary school classroom. The book offers a thorough explanation of how the LPA design principles apply in the context of a primary school by presenting a wide range of practical strategies and classroom examples.
 
The book illustrates the tips and techniques that will get students' learning muscles stretching from a young age across different curricular areas in literacy and numeracy, but also in subjects such as science, history, art, and PE. The book is designed for all teachers of learners aged 3-11, including both newly qualified teachers who want to get started on the LPA journey, as well as experienced teachers who have already made good progress and are looking for fresh ideas.
To find out more about the work of Becky Carlzon, visit www.learningpowerkids.com

THE LEARNING POWER APPROACH

Foreword by Carol S. Dweck
 
In 'The Learning Power Approach: Teaching learners to teach themselves' Guy Claxton sets out the design principles of a pedagogical formula that aims to strengthen students learning muscles and develop their independence, initiative, determination, and love of learning. 
 
The book provides a set of design principles for teachers from all educational settings to strengthen students learning muscles, a wealth of practical strategies and the supporting evidence that underpins them, and details the small tweaks to daily practice that will help teachers attend more closely to the ways in which they can shape their students learning dispositions and attitudes. 
 
'The Learning Power Approach' (LPA) offers teachers a win-win pedagogical formula that delivers good academic results while simultaneously turbocharging students independence, initiative, and love of learning. 

WHAT'S THE POINT OF SCHOOL?

With their emphasis on regurgitated knowledge and stressful exams, today’s schools actually do more harm than good. Guiding readers past the sterile debates about City Academies and dumbed-down exams, Claxton proves that education’s key responsibility should be to create enthusiastic learners who will go on to thrive as adults in a swiftly-changing, dynamic world. Students must be encouraged to sharpen their wits, ask questions, and think for themselves - all without chucking out Shakespeare or the Periodic Table. 
 
Blending down-to-earth examples with the latest advances in brain science, and written with passion, wit, and authority, this brilliant book will inspire teachers, parents, and readers of all backgrounds to join a practical revolution and foster in the next generation a natural curiosity and the spirit of adventure.

WISE UP

A new science of learning is emerging and Guy Claxton is at the forefront. It was recently thought that one's learning was a matter of intelligence, or of how hard one tried and that the differences in achievement were due to "ability" or "effort". Widespread attitudes to learning currently disable rather than enable because they concentrate almost exclusively on conscious reason.
 
This new science of learning tells us that everyone's learning power can be enormously increased. Good learners need to know when to mull and drift, as well as when to be analytical and focussed. The methods that Claxton advocates allows the individual to be comfortable with uncertainty, teaching the individual to rely on resourcefulness, resilience and reflection: qualities we have need for learning and growing into the future.

BUILDING LEARNING POWER

'Building Learning Power' (BLP) guides teachers to help young people become better learners, in school and out. It creates a classroom climate, and in the school more widely, that systematically cultivates habits and attitudes that enable young people to face difficulty and uncertainty calmly, confidently and creatively.
 
To thrive in the twenty-first century, it is not enough to leave school with a clutch of examination certificates. Students must learn how to be tenacious and resourceful, imaginative and logical, self-disciplined and self-aware, collaborative and inquisitive. 'Building Learning Power' provides teachers, advisers, teacher trainers and parents with approaches to educating young people to be more confident in their own learning ability, to learn faster and better, concentrate more, think harder, do better in their tests and find learning more enjoyable.
 
'Building Learning Power' is firmly grounded in both solid science and practical experience; it takes root and develops over time; a culture as opposed to a quick-fix; and its results are therefore all the more robust.

THE LEARNING POWERED SCHOOL

Guy Claxton’s 'Building Learning Power' model presented both a distinctive goal for education, and a set of practical ideas to help schools and teachers to help students become better learners. In 'The Learning Powered School, Guy and co-authors address how these practises have developed and flourished since BLP was first introduced. This book is rooted in the experience of the schools and teachers who have understood the promise of BLP, taken up the challenging of realigning their classroom practise, their professional development, engagement with parents, and as a result, experienced real positive change. The book describes the thinking that underpins the ideas of Learning Power, the science and evidence behind it, and reviews its impact on actual results and Ofsted grades.
 
Learning Power is the key to transforming education to make it truly fit for purpose in the 21st century. 'The Learning Powered School' describes this substantial work-in-progress and reveals the positive future direction for an education that embraces BLP.

EDUCATING RUBY

Foreword by Professor Tanya Byron and Octavius Black. 'Educating Ruby: What Our Children Really Need To Learn' is a powerful call to action on education by acclaimed thought-leaders Guy Claxton and Bill Lucas.
 
Cultivating confidence, curiosity, collaboration, communication, creativity, commitment and craftsmanship in young people is the key to how schools can get the results, in the right way. 'Educating Ruby' describes how this is possible alongside school schools helping students to do well in public examinations, so that the Rubys of tomorrow will be able to reflect on their time at school with honest pleasure and optimism.
 
Featuring the views of schoolchildren, parents, educators and employers and drawing on Guy Claxton and Bill Lucas' years of experience in education, including their work with Building Learning Power and the Expansive Education Network, this powerful new book is sure to provoke thinking and debate.
 
'Educating Ruby' is for everyone who cares about education in an uncertain world; just as Willy Russell's Educating Rita helped us rethink university, the authors of Educating Ruby invite fresh scrutiny of our schools.

The Mind

As a cognitive scientist, the main focus of my work has been on expanding our conception of intelligence. We all share the notion that intelligence is tied to complex abstract thinking and problem-solving - the kind of skills that IQ tests purport to measure. I would argue that intelligence ought to relate to how regular people function in the real world, and how it can help them solve everyday problems.

Real-world intelligence is fascinating because it depends as much on intellect as on our values and emotions. As exciting new research suggests, the processes of mind and body are so intricately interwoven that, should we neglect part of them, we would automatically become less intelligent. I’ve explored this fast-developing field in a series of books, of which Intelligence in the Flesh is the most recent.

HARE BRAIN, TORTOISE MIND: WHY INTELLIGENCE INCREASES WHEN YOU THINK LESS

In ‘Hare Brain Tortoise Mind’, Guy Claxton explores the ways of knowing that require more time, the ways we have ignored, or unlearned, but that are crucial to our complete mental development. 
 
The human brain-mind will do a number of unusual, interesting and important things if given time. It will learn patterns of a degree of subtlety which normal, purposeful, busy consciousness cannot even see, let alone master. It will make sense out of hazy, ill-defined situations which leave everyday rationality flummoxed. It will get to the bottom of personal, emotional issues much more successfully than the questing intellect. It will detect and respond to meaning, in poetry for example, that cannot be articulated. It will sometimes come up with solutions to complicated predicaments that are wise rather than merely clever.
 
There is hard evidence, from cognitive science and elsewhere, for these capacities and Claxton explores how these ways of knowing can be used more often, and more effectively, in our daily lives.

THE WAYWARD MIND: AN INTIMATE HISTORY

‘The unconscious’ has had a long and chequered history. For at least the last 4,000 years, societies have concocted comforting fables in the face of the recurrent puzzles of human existence - death, dreaming, madness, possession, inspiration - that invariably rely on some notion of the unconscious. This book charts these varying ways of explaining the unconscious mind, from ancient descriptions of the “underworld” to theories of contemporary neuroscience. Supernatural 'fairy stories' need some internal proxy or contact point through which the influence of demons and spirits can flow. And without such gods and forces, some psychological machinery is needed to take over their work. But what is the unconscious? Is it 'God's viceroy', the soul? Is it the locked ward of Freudian desire? Is the subliminal mind the source of the sublime emotions of the Romantics? Is is the mental microchip of cognitive science? Or is it simply the brain?
 
In ‘The Wayward Mind’, the common image of the mind is skilfully redrawn to acknowledge the constant influence of its invisible foundations on everyday human behaviour.

INTELLIGENCE IN THE FLESH: WHY YOUR MIND NEEDS YOUR BODY WAY MORE THAN IT THINKS

An enthralling exploration that upends the prevailing view of consciousness and demonstrates how intelligence is literally embedded in the palms of our hands. In his provocative new book, Guy Claxton draws on the latest findings in neuroscience and psychology to reveal how our bodies-long dismissed as mere conveyances-actually constitute the core of our intelligent life. From the endocrinal means by which our organs communicate to the instantaneous decision-making prompted by external phenomena, our bodies are able to perform intelligent computations that we either overlook or wrongly attribute to our brains.
 
Embodied intelligence is one of the most exciting areas in contemporary philosophy and neuropsychology, and Claxton shows how the privilege given to cerebral thinking has taken a toll on modern society, resulting in too much screen time, the diminishment of skilled craftsmanship, and an overvaluing of white-collar over blue-collar labor. Discussing techniques that will help us reconnect with our bodies, Claxton shows how an appreciation of the body's intelligence will enrich all our lives.

THE HEART OF BUDDISM

This classic Buddhist title explains why Buddhism is now so appropriate to our personal, social and global situation. Unlike many other religions, Buddhism is very well suited to a secular age. It offers a practical, comprehensible way to achieve peace of mind and generosity of spirit. Buddhism requires no adherence to obscure beliefs, and is mainly concerned with improving the quality of our everyday life.
 
In ‘The Heart of Buddism', Guy Claxton explains why Buddhism is so appropriate to our individual, social, and global predicament. The book offers a practical, comprehensive way to achieve peace of mind and generosity of spirit through understanding, meditation and communication. As a result, improve our health and the quality of everyday life amidst the stresses of our modern world.

NOISES FROM THE DARKROOM

Noises from the Darkroom draws psychology, biology and mysticism together into an exciting new theory of human consciousness. Starting from an evolutionary perspective, Guy Claxton shows how the mind has emerged from the brain, and how, along the way, some crucial misapprehensions have slipped into our unconscious models of ourselves.

 

Through its masterly and engaging synthesis of different perspectives, 'Noises from the Darkroom' offers a view of the totality of the human brain-mind that illuminates clearly both its blind alleys and its potentialities.

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF AWAKENING

The Buddhist view of the mind - how it works, how it goes wrong, how to put it right - is increasingly being recognised as profound and highly practical by scientists, counsellors and other professionals. In ‘The Psychology of Awakening’, this powerful vision of human nature, and its implications for personal and social life, are for the first time brought to a wider audience by some of those most influential in exploring its potential for the way we live today. These include: David Brazier, Jon Kabat Zinn. Francisco Varela, Joy Manne Geshe, Thubten Jinpa, Mark Epstein, Gay Watson, Maura Sills, Guy Claxton and Stephen Batchelor.
 
Deeply relevant, accessible and authoritative, ‘The Psychology of Awakening’ will be of interest to all those who wish to understand the workings of their minds a little better and who are also seeking new ways of mastering the challenges - personal, professional and cultural with which modern life confronts us all.