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this experience as a vehicle to pro- mote these ideas to students and then to develop activities in the classroom to work their learning muscles.’ Andrew had eight months to pre- pare. He involved the students in every way possible in his prepara- tions: he showed them how he asked himself questions about his challenge: When is it happening? How far is the ride? How hot will it be? How can I prepare for the ride in extreme heat in a cold Devon winter? When can I train when I have a job and a young family? How far will I have to ride in my training? In all these cases Andrew showed how he was applying the knowledge he already had and his readiness to find out new knowledge, his willingness to put in months of


preparation for a goal he wanted to achieve.


The students began to feel involved in his story and began to apply those simple principles to their own learning: looking at the problem and questions they faced in class and in the homework they were set and ap- plying the same criteria. They learnt to depend on their own learning and try and use the knowledge they had already acquired to solve these new problems.


The students used boards where they could post their questions about a particular subject. It was a simple system for them to highlight where they felt they had a lot of knowledge, where they weren’t sure and where they felt they were lacking in knowl-


edge. This system allowed them to highlight areas on which they should concentrate to develop their knowl- edge.


Andrew continued his punishing training regime to get in shape for March 2005. Starting with a ride from 5am to 8am before going to work for 8.30am, he worked incred- ibly hard building his resilience and physical stamina. His work was mirrored by his students who were building their learning muscles at the same time. Travelling to Death Valley Andrew was still unsure what the actual experi- ence of the ride was going to be: just like any student heading into an exam after months of revision, he was un- sure what lay ahead but confident he had done all he could to prepare. Despite the extreme heat, massive climbs and punishing pace, Andrew completed the ride in 14 hours and 1 minute – spending twelve and a half hours in the saddle at an average of 16 miles an hour, consuming 16 litres of water in the process. He had achieved two goals – completing the ride and inspiring his students to be- come better learners.


‘I was asked if cycling in the early


morning ever gets easier. In reply I quoted a famous cyclist: ‘It never gets easier, you just cycle faster.’ I believe this is like learning: if you are con- tinually striving to be better, it is not easy, but the rewards are worth the striving.’•


Andrew (centre) with Olympic & world champion windsurfer David Hackford (left) and educational advisor to the Academy Dave Strudwick


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