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
Improvement Science; Learning Analytics; Neworked Improvement Communities; Learning Journeys.
Crick, RD, 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, RD, Barr, S, Green, H & Pedder, D 2017, 'Evaluating the wider outcomes of schools: Complex systems modelling for leadership decisioning', Educational Management Administration and Leadership, vol. 45, no. 4, pp. 719-743.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016. A continuing challenge for the education system is how to evaluate the wider outcomes of schools. Wider measures of success – such as citizenship or lifelong learning – influence each other and emerge over time from complex interactions between students, teachers and leaders, and the wider community. Unless methods are found to evaluate these broader outcomes, which are able to do justice to learning and achievement as emergent properties of the learner’s engagement with his or her world the education system will continue to focus on narrow measures of school effectiveness which do not properly account for complexity. In this article we describe the rationale and methodology underpinning a pilot research project that applied hierarchical process modelling to a group of schools as complex living systems, using software developed by engineers at the University of Bristol, called Perimeta. The aim was to generate a stakeholder owned systems design which was better able to account for the full range of outcomes valued by each school, and for the complex processes which facilitate or inhibit them, thus providing a more nuanced leadership decision-making analytic. The project involved three academies in the UK.
Deakin Crick, R, Knight, S & Barr, S 2017, 'Towards Analytics for Wholistic School Improvement: Hierarchical Process Modelling and Evidence Visualization', Journal of Learning Analytics, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 160-188.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Central to the mission of most educational institutions is the task of preparing the
next generation of citizens to contribute to society. Schools, colleges, and universities value a
range of outcomes — e.g., problem solving, creativity, collaboration, citizenship, service to
community — as well as academic outcomes in traditional subjects. Often referred to as “wider
outcomes,” these are hard to quantify. While new kinds of monitoring technologies and public
datasets expand the possibilities for quantifying these indices, we need ways to bring that data
together to support sense-making and decision-making. Taking a systems perspective, the
hierarchical process modelling (HPM) approach and the “Perimeta” visual analytic provides a
dashboard that informs leadership decision-making with heterogeneous, often incomplete
evidence. We report a prototype of Perimeta modelling from education, aggregating wider
outcomes data across a network of schools, and calculating their cumulative contribution to key
performance indicators, using the visual analytic of the Italian flag to make explicit not only the
supporting evidence, but also the challenging evidence, as well as areas of uncertainty. We
discuss the nature of the modelling decisions and implicit values involved in quantifying these
kinds of educational outcomes.
Deakin Crick, R, Huang, S, Shafi, AA & 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.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Crick, RD, 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.View/Download from: Publisher's site
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.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This paper examines the concept of learner dispositions empirically and theoretically based on two related studies: one undertaken in the United Kingdom exploring students learning power, identity and their engagement in learning; and one undertaken in Australia, which explored the relationship between learning power and Dweckian self-theories. Three different measures of dispositions are used. Two of these - learning power and self-theories - approach dispositions as malleable but relatively slow to change attributes, while the third considers dispositions as potentially more contextually responsive. The two studies had the measure of learning power in common, enabling a statistical as well as a theoretical comparison between the two studies' models of learning dispositions and their contribution to the notion of engagement. The implications of these related studies are that, in order to foster deep engagement in learning, pedagogical attention needs to be paid to the formation of learning identity and the development of learning dispositions in the process of knowledge construction. While the different approaches to conceptualising dispositions were broadly compatible, each provided a different insight into this complex concept and suggests different but related pedagogical strategies for building engagement. The paper concludes with an exploration of the implications for dispositional research of autopoetic theory as an integrating conceptual framework. © 2014 © 2014 Society for Educational Studies.
Godfrey, P, Crick, RD & 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.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Educating Engineers in systems thinking and systems design require an approach to teaching and learning in which the purpose is to achieve competence rather than to acquire specialised subject knowledge, abstracted from its socio-technical context. Such an approach is structured by context-driven enquiry, supported by learning power, positioned at the interface of knowledge generation and use, and grounded in a commitment to sustainable development. Rather than beginning with pre-defined abstract subject knowledge, the students begin with an engineering problem in a particular territory or a place, and develop a systems architecture, a holistic way of defining that territory, which facilitates synergy as well as analysing performance. In order to do this, students need to be able to uncover the different knowledge systems through which their territory can be perceived and known, and explore the different parameters and measurements which can be applied to them. Such 'systems architecting' cannot be achieved through rote learning or the cognitive application of pre-defined knowledge, since by definition the solution to the problem to be solved cannot be known in advance. Rather it depends on the ability to learn, and to progress through an open-ended, formative, dynamic learning process. It is framed by a selected purpose, fuelled by learning power (including creativity, meaning making, curiosity and resilience) and cogenerated through knowledge structuring processes. It begins with experience and observation and concludes with a product which is a unique application of knowledge for a particular engineering purpose. One of the challenges of technology enhanced learning is how to integrate learning design in an architectural framework which leverages mobile, social and 'big' data to enhance the processes and social relationships of learning, rather than simply providing information or evaluating outcomes. The approach presented in this paper outlines what can be u...
Crick, RD, 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.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Ren, K & Deakin Crick, R 2013, 'Empowering underachieving adolescents: an emancipatory learning perspective on underachievement', Pedagogies, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 235-254.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
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, RD, Goldspink, C, Collet, P, Carbone, A & Helbing, D 2012, 'The FuturICT education accelerator', The European Physical Journal. Special Topics, vol. 214, pp. 215-243.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
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, RD & 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.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Hoskins, B & Crick, RD 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.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Crick, RD 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.View/Download from: Publisher's site
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.
Crick, RD & 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.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Hoskins, B & Crick, RD 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.View/Download from: Publisher's site
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.
Crick, RD, McCombs, B, Haddon, A, Broadfoot, P & Tew, M 2007, 'The ecology of learning: Factors contributing to learner-centred classroom cultures', Research Papers in Education, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 267-307.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This paper reports on a cross-sectional case study designed to explore the relationships between learner-centred variables in five schools from Years 5-9. The variables examined were elicited through three self-evaluation tools: (a) students’ self reports of their learning power measured on seven dimensions of ‘changing and learning’, ‘meaning making’, ‘critical curiosity’, ‘creativity’, ‘learning relationships’, ‘strategic awareness’ and ‘resilience’; (b) students’ perceptions of their teachers’ learner-centred practices, based on ‘teachers’ ability to create positive interpersonal relationships’, to ‘honour student voice’, to ‘stimulate higher-order thinking’ and to ‘cater for individual differences’; and (c) students’ perception of their schools as emotionally literate places, that is schools which enable students to interact in a way that builds understanding of their own and others’ emotions and then to use this understanding to shape their actions. These three sets of variables were compared with student attainment based on teachers’ assessment of National Curriculum levels in English, maths and science. These data suggest that there is a complex ecology of learning in schools and classrooms which works to promote or inhibit higher achievement, and which can also predict attainment. We argue that: learning power seems to be a form of consciousness characterised by particular values, attitudes and dispositions, with a lateral and a temporal connectivity. It is powerfully influenced by the learning relationships within which individuals find themselves, particularly with their teacher and with key people in their school community. These three self-evaluation tools in this study provided a way of enabling learners to become agents of their own learning, and, to some extent, of their learning environment. The ELLI learning profiles in particular are being taken up by a range of LEAs and schools, as well as other learning contexts. © 2007, Taylor & Francis Group...
Jaros, M & Deakin-Crick, R 2007, 'Personalized learning for the post-mechanical age', Journal of Curriculum Studies, vol. 39, no. 4, pp. 423-440.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This study describes an approach to learning and teaching that is structured as a project-based context-driven inquiry. The approach is positioned at the interface between knowledge-generation and use, and grounded in a generic notion of responsibility for the future of bodily life. The intention is to move the debate beyond the exhausted language of rigid oppositions between the academic and vocational, the universal and contextual. The purpose is to identify and nurture a personal portfolio of competencies responding to the contemporary material condition of humanity. It is expressed in terms of the student's learning power, a manifold of new assessment criteria and methodological steps constitutive of what a student could achieve having progressed through a given course. This is an approach in which competencies are outcomes supported rather than led by subject knowledge. The course structure combines traditional instruction with innovative project and assessment components and also provides an opportunity for the student to get acquainted with an employment niche. The practical applications of this approach at university and secondary-school levels have led to encouraging results for both staff and learners.
Crick, RD & McCombs, BL 2006, 'The assessment of learner-centered practices surveys: An English case study', Educational Research and Evaluation, vol. 12, no. 5, pp. 423-444.View/Download from: Publisher's site
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.
Haddon, A, Goodman, H, Park, J & Deakin Crick, R 2005, 'Evaluating emotional literacy in schools: The development of the school emotional environment for learning survey', Pastoral Care in Education, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 5-16.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This paper describes the development of the School Emotional Environment for Learning Survey, an instrument for evaluating the perceived level of emotional literacy of the school as an organization. It elicits student and staff perceptions of their affective experience of being a part of the school community. It was designed to look at the extent to which a school enables members of its community to interact in a manner that builds an understanding of their own and others’ emotions, which can then be used to shape their actions. Emotional literacy is seen here as a potential in everyone that is contingent on the interaction between a person and their social context, rather than a capacity that is either present or absent in the individual. Qualitative data were collected from an ethnographic case study of two schools using closed- and open-ended questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, focus groups, a draw-and-write exercise and participant observation. The data were used to generate grounded theory and to build a theoretical framework for organizational emotional literacy. This theoretical framework is described as the CORE framework, addressing the domains of communication, relationships, organization and emotional experience. These domains are then characterized by particular qualities and values that are described in the ‘matrix of emotional literacy. This framework and matrix were then used to develop a questionnaire, which was trialed as a tool to audit the level of emotional literacy in both primary and secondary schools. © NAPCE 2005.
Crick, RD 2014, 'Learning to learn: A complex systems perspective' in Deakin Crick, R, Stringher, C & Ren, K (eds), Learning to Learn: International Perspectives from Theory and Practice, Routledge, USA, pp. 66-86.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
© 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.
© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012. All rights reserved. This chapter develops a definition of engagement which is underpinned by a participatory enquiry paradigm and invites an exploration of patterns and relationships between variables rather than a focus on a single variable. It suggests that engagement is best understood as a complex system including a range of interrelated factors internal and external to the learner, in place and in time, which shape his or her engagement with learning opportunities. The implications of this approach are explored first in terms of student identity, learning power and competences and second in terms of student participation in the construction of knowledge through authentic enquiry. Examples are used to illustrate the arguments which have been generated from research into the theory and practice of Learning Power and from the Learning Futures programme in the UK and Australia. The chapter argues that what is necessary for deep engagement in the twenty-first century is a pedagogy and an assessment system which empower individuals to become aware of their identity as learners through making choices about what, where and how they learn and to make meaningful connections with their life stories and aspirations in authentic pedagogy. In this context, the teacher is a facilitator or coach for learning rather than a purveyor of expert knowledge.
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, CW & Crick, RD 2009, 'Citizenship, discourse ethics and an emancipatory model of lifelong learning' in Habermas, Critical Theory and Education, pp. 137-152.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Deakin-Crick, R 2004, 'Learner-centred teachers' in Education for a Change: Transforming the Way we Teach our Children, pp. 159-165.View/Download from: Publisher's site