Learning Principles and Education Philosophy

Leading evidence based educational research has enabled us to present our principles of learning that underpin the best educational practices worldwide. Across ten Dulwich College International schools these guiding statements are driving effective and innovative pedagogy at each age and stage of a student’s learning journey.

Learning is effective when it has a clear purpose:

  • Students take ownership and responsibility for their own learning.
  • Students use what they already know to construct new understandings.


Learning is effective when it is adapted and applied:

  • Students make connections between knowledge, concepts and skills.
  • Students transfer knowledge and skills to a variety of contexts.


Learning is effective when it is personalised:

  • Students are appropriately challenged from their own starting points.
  • Students can engage in meaningful and deliberate practice in lesson time.
  • Students respond to quality feedback with concrete strategies for improvement.


Learning is effective when it is relational:

  • Students engage in effective collaboration and build positive, safe relationships.
  • Students are able to recognise mistakes as collective learning opportunities.

Personalised Learning in Our Educational Philosophy

We recognize that not all students progress at the same rate or in the same way. While we engage students in international curriculum, we accommodate the diverse learning styles and strengths of students by providing students with individualised feedback and support to be able to adapt to the curriculum, teaching methods, and pace of learning.

Two Core Outcomes

  • The long-term retention of valuable knowledge, concepts and skills.
  • The ability to transfer what has been retained into different contexts and situations.

In the same way learning is a life-long endeavour that can occur in a classroom, mountainside, playing field or theatre, equally these learning principles are interconnected and multifaceted in their broader application.

In a Dulwich context we use these statements to help evaluate the effectiveness of learning when talking with students during lessons and as part of teacher action research and professional learning. We also use these principles to build student metacognitive understanding of learning, which in turn leads to greater student advocacy and independence.

We firmly believe the best foundation for student wellbeing and social emotional literacy lies in greater control and understanding of the learning process, and our own research into character education supports this approach.

These principles have also been developed with the forward-looking lens of a 21st century education in mind. The agile and adaptable skills required in future landscapes demand current innovative schools that seek to secure a deeper level of student understanding that will enable the transfer of thinking from one domain to another. This concept-based approach underpins our K-12 curriculum but more importantly our entire approach to learning, teaching and student wellbeing.

To read more about how we achieve these goals please see Education Innovation.