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  • Skribentens bildSuzanne Axelsson

The Ten Principles of Original Learning

I keep thinking about what would be the underlying principles of the Original Learning Approach... my book is sharing the complexity and the beauty, but maybe here I could start the process of creating the principles... so what I write here now - might not be the final principles... but is the start of the story of unearthing them. I have started with ten... These 10 principles are for the adults to always carry with them in all the do


  • Always be kind - because children are still learning how to self regulate, and they have their entire childhood to practice being kind, so it is our adult responsibility to rise above the triggers and be kind. A Pedagogy of Care

  • Always be open - if we go into something with a closed mind, or an attitude of there is only one answer or one way to do/use it, the chances are we will miss many creative and wonder-filled moments that could potentially inspire the way we teach. Being open to changing our minds, or to making mistakes without hiding them. A Pedagogy of Curiosity

  • Always be prepared - being prepared doesn't mean that those preparations have to be done, simply that there is also a plan b to z - this is not about lots of written plans, but the kind of planing that allows us to be spontaneous. If we have genuinely listened to the children and noticed what they are up to and what they are likely to respond to then our ideas are likely to be appropriate. We are prepared for change, we are prepared for the unpredictable, we are prepared for magic and wonder - even if we don't know what it will be, we are prepared to embrace the unknown and get to know it. Being prepared also means keeping up to date with research and theories - what new things is the world learning about children, play and learning and how can we apply this in our work. A Pedagogy of Noticing

  • Always be aware - it is critical that we are aware of our own well-being and the well-being of the children. We all need to feel safe and brave to be able to learn and dare to be curious and creative. A Pedagogy of Joy

  • Slow down - not that we need to go in slow motion, but simply that we are not hurried and stressed which can result ina reduced ability to notice what is going on. Slowing down means going at the pace of the children's play and learning rather than levelling up as fast as possible connected to an adult designed curriculum connected to effectivity. It also means that we take the time for our own development as educators and carers of children, so that what we are learning aligns with what we need to thrive in our professional roles. A Pedagogy of Time.

  • Listen deeply - listening to understand; listening as an act of love; listening as a tool of democracy. Listening is powerful. Not only our adult listening to children, but by empowering the children to listen to each other, and to know how it feels to be listened to. Listening to new perspectives so that we can expand our own knowledge and feel braver in our professional roles. A Pedagogy of Listening

  • Examine our agenda - why are we doing what we are doing? How is it in tune with the way the children are exploring the world? We need to consider how play is the brain's way to adapt to a complex world. We need to deliberately make learning pleasurable so that we, and the children, stay motivated. If we respond to the children's autonomous play as educators we are more likely to be in tune with the way the brain is learning; this requires adequate time for play. A Pedagogy of Play.

  • Examine our bias - it is vital that we address our known bias, and take the time to uncover our hidden bias. In part this requires us to listen, and to be open. It also requires us to act, and that once we know that our words, actions and choices are negatively impacting others we take steps to change and create safer and braver spaces for everyone. A Pedagogy of Reparation.

  • Examine our anxiety - taking time to reflect on our fears is important. Fears can easily become thresholds that feel impossible to cross. What is important is to take sustainable steps in everything that we do. To be good enough right now, and appreciating our own power and potential. If we are only focussing on levelling-up and being better it can mean that we are failing to notice and appreciate our now. If we think of ourselves, and the children, as continuously evolving then we can take joy in every step we take rather than only valuing meeting goals. Anxiety about having enough resources also needs to be reflected on; it is not the stuff we have but how we use the stuff that is the most important. A Pedagogy of Good-enough

  • Examine our actions - are we walking the talk? It is one thing to read theories, to reflect and talk about them, but it is another to put them into action. Are our actions in line with our own personal thinking? What steps do we need to take to practically be the person we want to be? Children are watching our actions, and reactions, as a way to learn how to be an adult. So it is not just how we treat the children, but also colleagues, the resources, parents and the world around us that matters. How we take responsibility for scaffolding the children to become the kind of people they want to be within a community of learners is important. Facilitating children to take responsibility is a way of empowering them not punishing them; responsibility of their own actions, of relationships, the stuff and the world around them. It is how they remain competent. A Pedagogy of Responsibility/Response-ability


My book can be bought in many online bookstores... or ordered directly from Redleaf Press. Postage can be expensive, so why not consider an e-book.

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