Dispostions of Learning - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Dispostions of Learning

Posted on January 27, 2013

by Dr. Edna Hussey on January 27, 2013

Having just completed four evening sessions with parents applying their children into our Reggio-inspired preschool, I reflected again on the purposes of the program offered at Mid-Pacific. When I ask parents about their hopes and goals for their children, no one ever says that they want their child to learn to read or that they do well on standardized tests. We want want better and more for our children. Claxton and Carr (2002) say it best:
"The fundamental purpose of education for the 21st Century, it is argued, is not so much the transmission of particular bodies of knowledge, skill and understanding as facilitating the development of the capacity and the confidence to engage in lifelong learning. Central to this enterprise is the development of positive learning dispositions, such as resilience, playfulness and reciprocity." Learning dispositions are patterns of behavior, thinking, and interactions or learning inclinations. Dispositions are often viewed as tendencies towards such skills as persisting, being curious, being able to try something new, taking responsibility, etc. During my presentations to applicant families, I explain that the MPI teachers work with a dispositional framework by working with their students to develop dispositions of learning, such as . . .

To be curious . . .
To make connections . . .
To work with deliberation and focus . . .
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To take risks . . .
To collaborate . . .

These are some of the 21st century skills, mindsets, and attitudes that will support learning for a lifetime, exceeding knowledge acquisition or mastery of information. Learning dispositions describe what it means to be a learner in the 21st century. Since content changes over time and will change even more rapidly with the increasing pace of technological and scientific advancements, and political and economic developments, our 21st century learners need to develop the learning dispositions that surpass traditional curriculum and will provide a strong foundation for learning.

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey