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17
Nov

Deeper Learning

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One way to summarize the skills and knowledge that students need in 21st century jobs and civic life is called “Deeper Learning”.  Below are the six basic areas of Deeper Learning.

1. Master core academic content
2. Think critically and solve complex problems
3. Work collaboratively
4. Communicate effectively – written and oral
5. Learn how to learn
6. Develop academic mindsets (attitudes and beliefs that lead to perseverance and motivation)

As our classrooms change to prepare students for what is expected of them, we have to consider how students will react.  How will students respond?  The complete answer is dependent on the specific student, but we can expect some commonalities. 

When students are challenged to think critically and solve problems, many will feel uncomfortable and unprepared.  They will want to quit and look for excuses.  They will beg for a worksheet with one word answers, not because it will prepare them better for what is expected of them, but because it is familiar and appears easier.  When students are challenged to think deeply about a concept and consider multiple approaches to a solution, we can expect resistance.  Students will ask for the one “right answer”.  Students can’t learn problem solving skills unless they encounter problems.   That is why “Learning how to learn” and “Developing academic mindsets” are part of the process.  We must teach students to persist and believe in their abilities. Students must take responsibility for their learning and reflect on their thinking.  Teachers must become intentional about teaching these success mindsets.  Reading and thinking strategies must be modeled in all subject areas. 

Parents and community members can help students by anticipating their need for productive struggling through the problem solving process and encouraging them to persist.  Have students write out their questions and roadblocks.  Tell them to look for “clues” to a solution.  As students learn to ask productive questions they will find solutions more quickly.  The student engagement will lead to improved motivation to learn and increased learning.  To find out more about deeper learning, watch the video found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpzJgOyiH7g

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