ERRR Podcast #007. James Mannion and Learning to Learn

Listen to all past episodes of the ERRR podcast here.

In this episode we spoke to James Mannion.

James qualified as a Teacher of Science in 2006. He holds an MA in Person-Centred Education from the University of Sussex, and is currently a final year PhD student at the University of Cambridge. James’s doctoral study is a 5-year evaluation of Learning Skills, a new approach to Learning to Learn which led to significant gains in subject learning, especially among young people from disadvantaged backgrounds (see Mannion & Mercer, 2016). Learning Skills is a complex intervention, whereby several strands of effective practice are used in combination. This idea also forms the basis of the Rethinking Education approach to school improvement. James is an Associate of the UCL Institute of Education, and currently works with schools throughout London and the South-East to help develop evidence-informed practices such as practitioner enquiry and lesson study. James is a passionate advocate of practitioner enquiry as a basis for professional development, and he regularly presents at educational conferences on this subject. He is a founding member of Oracy Cambridge, a think tank dedicated to promoting effective speaking and listening skills in schools and the wider society. You can contact James at, or via @rethinking_ed.

James’ nominated paper was Learning to learn: improving attainment, closing the gap at Key Stage 3. This article details how James lead a whole-school ‘Learning to Learn’ approach in his school in the South of England. Operating over three years with one cohort of students as they moved from years 7-9. Despite reducing the amount of time spent by the participating students on their usual subjects, these students actually performed better in comparison to a matched control group in core subjects such as mathematics and English. This is a fascinating intervention, using approaches such as teaching Philosophy to help students to learn to better think, and learn, with reported benefits across a broad range of subjects.

Attendees may also like to read James’ recent blog post which briefly outlines the project from a more personal perspective.

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Links mentioned during the interview