Educational Thinkers’ Hall of Fame – Wayne Craig and Powerful Learning

Wayne Craig  is a current educational thinker with an international reputation. He works with scholars, design experts, reformers and thought leaders around the world.

He’s a well-known system improvement expert. He and Professor David Hopkins, a visiting professor at Melbourne University, are credited with having led a large-scale initiative to raise achievement and improve outcomes for school students across the Northern Melbourne Metropolitan District of Australia.  He developed and co-authored Powerful Learning: A Strategy for Systemic Educational Improvement.

Wayne Craig

Some of his work is easily accessible online and the presentation Curiosity and Powerful Learning: Going Deeper Again has some thought-provoking insights and evidence. It’s well worth clicking this link if you’re interested in the relationships between curiosity, theories of action, moral purpose and system improvement in education. The slide below gives a flavour. Wayne Craig has generously given permission for use of the material copied here.


The presentation identifies ‘four whole school theories of action’:

  • Prioritise high expectations and authentic relationships
  • Emphasise enquiry focused teaching
  • Adopt consistent teaching protocols
  • Adopt consistent learning protocols

and ‘six theories of action for the teacher’:

  • Harness learning intentions, narrative and pace
  • Set challenging learning tasks
  • Frame higher order questions
  • Connect feedback to data
  • Commit to assessment for learning
  • Implement cooperative groups

He’s a pragmatist and has applied these principles in systems, linking teaching, learning and assessment to overall system improvement.


The  focus is on school system improvement, but many of the principles are transferable to adult learning, especially in dispersed community settings.

What do you think of his ideas? How might they influence practice in adult teaching, learning, assessment and systems?

About Ann Walker
Adult education and lifelong learning specialist and campaigner. LinkedIn:

3 Responses to Educational Thinkers’ Hall of Fame – Wayne Craig and Powerful Learning

  1. Andria Birch says:

    Iinteresting and very applicable to the WEA. However, based only on the bottom grid as I haven’t read this book, I’d suggest that you can have outstanding T&L consisting of the elements in the good to great column. The great to excellent column would require students to have a level of confidence and cultural capital which many of our students do not and sometimes may never possess, or wish to possess, particularly independant and self directed learning. I’m very interested in the class and cultural (in all its forms) assumptions made in models of teaching and learning and would be very interested in exploring this further.

  2. Ann Walker says:

    Thanks Andria. I suspect that some of the young people in Melbourne were short of confidence and cultural capital too.

    It’s good to explore beyond our own sector and country and to see what’s effective elsewhere so we can keep on learning and thinking about what we do and how we do it..

    I’ll send you some further information to see what you think..

    • Andria Birch says:

      Hi Ann, definitely interesting and the posts on here are a useful form of cpd for those of us with little time for this or to keep up with the numerous online forums so thanks for posting here. It would be very interesting to develop a conference to explore different models and theories which support development of social purpose education with adults and development of andragogy in the 21st Century. In fact sounds like a good project 🙂

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