Two Years of The Learning Rainforest

Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky    Khalil Gibran

It’s exactly two years ago today that The Learning Rainforest was published by John Catt Ltd.

In that time, over 16,000 copies of the book have been sold worldwide and I’ve had some wonderful feedback from teachers everywhere alongside positive responses from some of my all-time heroes of education including Dylan Wiliam and Dan Willingham.  I have a blog The Learning Rainforest: A model for great teaching and learning where I’ve posted their thoughts alongside excerpts from the book.

Over the last two years, it’s been an amazing and wonderful experience to travel the country and around the world, working with schools of all kinds where fabulous teachers and leaders are giving their all, creating wonderful conditions in which to learn, building knowledge every day and exploring the possibilities for what their students can achieve. I feel truly privileged to work in the way that I do, meeting the people I meet and seeing the places I get to see.

It’s more or less a coincidence that, on this anniversary, The Learning Rainforest Fieldbook has just gone out into the world.

The initial response has been wonderful – even though most of it so far has been from the contributors themselves, because they’ve been the first to receive the books!   I’ve been touched by the enthusiasm of each of the 30 school contributors and their joy at being involved in the project.  For me, it’s just amazing to see how ideas I set out in the original book have found meaning in so many different contexts, either directly or indirectly.  Some schools even used the Learning Rainforest content and structure as a basis for their in-house professional development programmes. Some have explored curriculum or assessment; some have looked at research-engagement as a CPD process; some have used specific teaching strategies developed in Part Two of the book.

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Suffice to say that the reach of the book and the persistent ticking along of sales has exceeded all my expectations.  I’m thrilled that ideas like Mode A and Mode B teaching, teaching to the top or ‘joy, awe and wonder’ have been adopted in schools. Perhaps even more, I’m delighted that the general spirit of the book, looking for a way to blend values and evidence into a coherent, pragmatic, deliverable teaching framework, has helped people to the extent that it has.

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As the graph shows, sales have been pretty steady,  only dipping in the winter holidays. It’s never been a best-seller in any list, but it chugs along nicely week after week.   I keep expecting it all to drop away but perhaps with Fieldbook coming along, that won’t happen just yet. I do hope readers will take a look at Fieldbook because the collective wisdom of all the contributors is really quite astonishing – and the student profiles are lovely!

Beyond the key team at John Catt Ltd and Oliver Caviglioli who helped to create the book, I have far too many people to thank by name, for their support and encouragement.  But I would like to say to anyone who has read The Learning Rainforest, sent me pictures comments, reviews, messages of support… Thank you!  It means a great deal to me.   Long may it continue!

Thank you all!

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