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Professor Ruth Deakin Crick


The first half of Ruth's career was spent in teaching and school leadership where Ruth was responsible for curriculum design and innovation in a community led school and worked in educational policy on issues of diversity and self-management in educational provision. She moved into an academic role in 2000 focused on research and development into how individuals, teams and organizations learn and change. Ruth is one of the originators of a self-assessment tool for strengthening self-directed change in learning power; the most recent version is CLARA (Crick Learning for Resilient Agency profile). In Sydney Ruth leads an integrated research, teaching and engagement programme focusing on the social arrangements and technical resources to needed to support networked improvement communities in education and industry. Her research focuses on processes of learning, adaptation and feedback in complex social systems. In Bristol she works with systems Engineers focusing on the development of resilience and sustainability in infrastructure design and the development of business models, which facilitate collaboration and innovation.


Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts British Educational Research Association Learning Emergence Network
Professor, Teacher Education Program
M.Arts (BRIS), M.ed (BRIS), Phd (BRIS)
+61 2 9514 3097

Research Interests

Improvement Science; Learning Analytics; Neworked Improvement Communities; Learning Journeys.
Can supervise: Yes


Crick, R.D., Stringher, C. & Ren, K. 2014, Learning to learn: International perspectives from theory and practice.
© 2014 Ruth Deakin Crick, Cristina Stringher and Kai Ren. Learning to Learn provides a much needed overview and international guide to the field of learning to learn from a multidisciplinary lifelong and lifewide perspective. A wealth of research has been flourishing on this key educational goal in recent years. Internationally, it is considered to be one of the key competencies needed to compete in the global economy, but also a crucial factor for individual and social well-being. This book draws on leading international contributors to provide a cutting-edge overview of current thinking on learning to learn research, policy, and implementation in both formal and informal learning environments. But what learning to learn is exactly, and what its constituting elements are, are much debated issues. These seem to be the crucial questions if assessment and development of this 'malleable side of intelligence' are to be accomplished. The approach of this volume is to consider a broad conception of learning to learn, not confined to only study strategies or metacognition, yet acknowledging the importance of such elements. The book sets out to answer five main questions: What is learning to learn? What are its functions and how do we assess it? What does it promise to the individual and society at large? How is it conceived in national curricula internationally? How can it be developed in a variety of contexts? The text is organized into two parts: the first addresses the core question of the nature of learning to learn from a theoretical and policy viewpoint, and the second presents recent research carried out in several educational systems, with special attention to assessment and curriculum. It gives an account of pedagogical practices of learning to learn and its role in individual empowerment from childhood to adulthood. Contributors also highlight the potential use of learning to learn as an organizing concept for lifelong learning, school improvement, and teacher...


Crick, R.D. 2014, 'Learning to learn: A complex systems perspective' in Learning to Learn: International Perspectives from Theory and Practice, pp. 66-86.
© 2014 Ruth Deakin Crick, Cristina Stringher and Kai Ren. This chapter explores how a complex systems thinking approach might contribute to a holistic understanding of learning to learn and the conditions necessary to support it. Learning to learn is a crucial competence for living in a context of radical change and uncertainty. By approaching learning to learn through the lens of systems thinking, it is possible to develop a design architecture for learning how to learn in a formal educational setting, which models the relationships and dependencies that contribute to what is a complex and delicate ecology. The chapter identifies six processes that contribute to learning to learn and identifies examples from theory, practice, and research, seeking to map out the terrain of relevant variables, including the classroom and system-wide practices that influence it. Finally, the chapter explores the implications of this for policy and practice, suggesting that a worldview shift of significant proportions about what matters in education is required if our schools are to prepare young people for life through the development of competence in learning to learn.
Crick, R.D. 2010, 'Assessment in schools - dispositions' in International Encyclopedia of Education, pp. 181-188.
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The concept of dispositions is a contested, but important area in education, at a time when there is increasing international concern for social sustainability through the development of a range of competences on the part of individuals and communities which enable successful functioning in real-world situations. Such competences include values, attitudes, and dispositions, as well as cognitive resources. A limited description of a disposition focuses on an individual's tendency to behave in particular ways over time, but a more complex, elaborated understanding locates dispositions as part of an embedded and embodied journey over time, from personal desire and motivation to the achievement of competence in a particular public domain. Dispositions for citizenship and learning to learn are widely accepted as educational outcomes. The challenge of assessing dispositions is rooted in their relationship both to the learning self, the deeply personal, and to the achievement of publicly recognized and validated outcomes. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Joldersma, C.W. & Crick, R.D. 2009, 'Citizenship, discourse ethics and an emancipatory model of lifelong learning' in Habermas, Critical Theory and Education, pp. 137-152.
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Deakin-Crick, R. 2004, 'Learner-centred teachers' in Education for a Change: Transforming the Way we Teach our Children, pp. 159-165.
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Buckingham Shum, S. & Deakin Crick, R. 2012, 'Learning Dispositions and Transferable Competencies: Pedagogy, Modelling and Learning Analytics', Proc. 2nd Int. Conf. Learning Analytics & Knowledge, ACM Press, Vancouver, BC.

Journal articles

Buckingham Shum, S. & Deakin Crick, R. 2016, 'Learning Analytics for 21st Century Competencies', Journal of Learning Analytics, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 6-21.
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Deakin Crick, R., Huang, S., Shafi, A.A. & Goldspink, C. 2015, 'Developing Resilient Agency in Learning: The Internal Structure of Learning Power', BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL STUDIES, vol. 63, no. 2, pp. 121-160.
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Godfrey, P., Crick, R.D. & Huang, S. 2014, 'Systems Thinking, Systems Design and Learning Power in Engineering Education', INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 112-127.
Crick, R.D., Haigney, D., Huang, S., Coburn, T. & Goldspink, C. 2014, 'Learning power in the workplace: the effective lifelong learning inventory and its reliability and validity and implications for learning and development (vol 24, pg 2255, 2013)', INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. EI-EI.
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Deakin Crick, R. & Goldspink, C. 2014, 'Learner Dispositions, Self-Theories and Student Engagement', BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL STUDIES, vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 19-35.
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Crick, R.D., Haigney, D., Huang, S., Coburn, T. & Goldspink, C. 2013, 'Learning power in the workplace: the effective lifelong learning inventory and its reliability and validity and implications for learning and development', INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, vol. 24, no. 11, pp. 2255-2272.
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Ren, K. & Deakin Crick, R. 2013, 'Empowering underachieving adolescents: an emancipatory learning perspective on underachievement', Pedagogies, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 235-254.
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The article reports on an empirical study into underachievement of 14-year-old students in four English schools by drawing upon learning power theory and practice. The study examined the characteristic learning power profiles of underachieving and overachieving adolescents, and then used student learning profiles diagnostically to support the learning needs of a selected sample of underachievers. This was followed by an impact study of the interventions on the development of student learning power and their academic achievement. The pre-intervention quantitative findings demonstrated a significant difference between the learning power dimensions of underachieving students and the rest of their cohort. Qualitative and narrative analysis provided greater depths in interpretation. Coaching conversations as a major intervention strategy were found to be successful in strengthening underachieving teenagers' learning power and enhancing their learning experiences rather than just raising their exam performance. The study concludes that in addressing the learning needs of underachieving adolescents, serious attention should be given to their learning subjectivities, enabling them to relate school learning to their personal values, attitudes, aspirations and identities. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Johnson, J., Buckingham Shum, S., Willis, A., Bishop, S., Zamenopoulos, T., Swithenby, S., MacKay, R., Merali, Y., Lorincz, A., Costea, C., Bourgine, P., Louca, J., Kapenieks, A., Kelly, P., Caird, S., Bromley, J., Crick, R.D., Goldspink, C., Collet, P., Carbone, A. & Helbing, D. 2012, 'The FuturICT education accelerator', The European Physical Journal. Special Topics, vol. 214, pp. 215-243.
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Education is a major force for economic and social wellbeing. Despite high aspirations, education at all levels can be expensive and ineffective. Three Grand Challenges are identified: (1) enable people to learn orders of magnitude more effectively, (2) enable people to learn at orders of magnitude less cost, and (3) demonstrate success by exemplary interdisciplinary education in complex systems science. A ten year `man-on-the-moon project is proposed in which FuturICTs unique combination of Complexity, Social and Computing Sciences could provide an urgently needed transdisciplinary language for making sense of educational systems. In close dialogue with educational theory and practice, and grounded in the emerging data science and learning analytics paradigms, this will translate into practical tools (both analytical and computational) for researchers, practitioners and leaders; generative principles for resilient educational ecosystems; and innovation for radically scalable, yet personalised, learner engagement and assessment. The proposed Education Accelerator will serve as a `wind tunnel for testing these ideas in the context of real educational programmes, with an international virtual campus delivering complex systems education exploiting the new understanding of complex, social, computationally enhanced organisational structure developed within FuturICT
Crick, R.D. & Jelfs, H. 2011, 'Spirituality, learning and personalisation: exploring the relationship between spiritual development and learning to learn in a faith-based secondary school', INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CHILDRENS SPIRITUALITY, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 197-217.
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Hoskins, B. & Crick, R.D. 2010, 'Competences for Learning to Learn and Active Citizenship: different currencies or two sides of the same coin?', EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF EDUCATION, vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 121-137.
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Crick, R.D. 2008, 'Key competencies for education in a European context: Narratives of accountability or care', European Educational Research Journal, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 311-318.
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This article addresses the ideological challenges and opportunities presented by the European Commission's commitment to the identification of key competencies for education and training, and the development of indicators which can be used to monitor and evaluate progress towards these competences across the European Union. It explores the backdrop of global changes which bring the notion of competences to the fore, worldwide, and then reports on the European Union's framework for competences. The construction of 'competence' is an ideological and political act, since it is an indication of a particular understanding of the 'good life', which may be different when viewed from within a social justice narrative or a neo-liberal narrative. The notion of 'metacompetence' is explored as a means of transcending the binary tension between an economic and a social narrative. European texts are best viewed as complex and multifaceted 'collages' which are dynamic, rather than static, and the term 'competence' in the texts is a good example of this.
Hoskins, B. & Crick, R.D. 2008, 'Social Justice, Research and European Policy: Defining and measuring key competences in education', European Educational Research Journal, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 308-310.
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Crick, R.D. & Yu, G. 2008, 'Assessing learning dispositions: is the Effective lifelong learning inventory valid and reliable as a measurement tool?', EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, vol. 50, no. 4, pp. 387-402.
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Crick, R.D. & Joldersma, C.W. 2007, 'Habermas, lifelong learning and citizenship education', Studies in Philosophy and Education, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 77-95.
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Citizenship and its education is again gaining importance in many countries. This paper uses England as its primary example to develop a Habermasian perspective on this issue. The statutory requirements for citizenship education in England imply that significant attention be given to the moral and social development of the learner over time, to the active engagement of the learner in community and to the knowledge skills and understanding necessary for political action. This paper sets out a theoretical framework that offers a perspective on learning suitable for these far-reaching aims. We argue that schools need to shift from the currently dominant discourse of accountability to incorporate a discourse of care in order to make room for an effective and appropriate pedagogy for citizenship. Habermas's social theory gives us a theoretical framework that properly locates schools within the lifeworld as part of civil society. Schools should therefore attend to hermeneutical and emancipatory concerns, not only to strategic interests. We put these in the context of Habermas's social theory to paint an alternative vision learning for citizenship education which is based in developing the dispositions, values and attitudes necessary for lifelong learning with a view to developing ongoing communicative action. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006.
Jaros, M. & Deakin-Crick, R. 2007, 'Personalized learning for the post-mechanical age', JOURNAL OF CURRICULUM STUDIES, vol. 39, no. 4, pp. 423-440.
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Crick, R.D. & McCombs, B.L. 2006, 'The assessment of learner-centered practices surveys: An English case study', Educational Research and Evaluation, vol. 12, no. 5, pp. 423-444.
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This study describes the implementation of the Assessment of Learner-Centered Practices (ALCP) surveys in 4 English schools, 3 primary schools and 1 secondary school during the academic year 2002-2003. The ALCP teacher and student surveys for grades kindergarten through 12 were developed and validated with over 25,000 students and their teachers in the United States. The theoretical basis for the ALCP surveys is the American Psychological Association's Learner-Centered Psychological Principles. This paper firstly describes the knowledge base underpinning the ALCP surveys, then describes their implementation in the UK. Although the ALCP surveys have been extensively validated in the US, this study is the first attempt to trial them in the UK as a teacher development tool. Given the cultural similarities between the US and UK, as well as the presumed generalizability of the Learner-Centered Psychological Principles, establishing the psychometric qualities of the ALCP surveys with English teachers extends the cross-cultural usefulness of these surveys. The study found that the ALCP surveys demonstrated comparable reliability and validity as U.S. data and their usefulness in practice were confirmed via teacher evaluations. © 2006 Taylor & Francis.
Crick, R.D. & Wilson, K. 2005, 'Being a learner: A virtue for the 21st century', BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL STUDIES, vol. 53, no. 3, pp. 359-374.
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