First steps toward a global Language of Learning

MAY 02, 2017 / Articles


An exciting, deep conversation across the globe has culminated in a "prototype" for a Language of Learning.

The vision is that students, staff and parents in 175 campuses, across 21 countries, with multiple curricula will share a common understanding of learning progress. The intention is for a practical tool that enables students to articulate:

  • Where I am now
  • How I’m going
  • Where I’m going next

Our process began in February, with a global Self-Directed Learning bootcamp for teachers and leaders, held in Auckland. This informed and stimulated thinking around high-impact strategies. As part of the bootcamp, we took our colleagues from the UK, Europe, North America, the Caribbean and Australia to Stonefields School, which has embedded an approach where children from their first years at school effectively manage their own learning journey.

We took away from Stonefields the value of a Language of Learning that:

  • Connects with a school’s geographical location.
  • Communicates visibly, and simply.
  • Conveys the idea of a learning journey.

Over the next two months, enthusiasts in each of our global regions took on the task to explore possibilities for a OneSchool global Language of Learning.

Our most recent step has been to bring a global team together virtually, representing teachers, leaders, and the community. Over three workshops we explored the validity of three visual metaphors. As we reflected on relevance, we were drawn into deep discussions of 21st Century skills, taxonomy, learner qualities, and the Learning Pit.

The collaboration via Zoom was challenging, not least in coordinating time zones, but also professional perspectives, cultural differences, and personal preferences. But we enjoyed the journey, ably facilitated by New Zealand Teacher Academy Director Karen Boyes.

Our next step will be to test the metaphor with the users – students, other teaching staff, and parents.


Language of Learning is one of Eight Mindframes that are important for learning, according to research by Prof John Hattie. It is about students, parents and teachers understanding what learning looks like. That way they can figure out what to do next in their learning. Hattie would argue that is how we become more involved in our learning journey.