The other day I was perusing educational discussions on the Internet when I came across the term “Deeper Learning”. I stopped to reflect on the term and thought, isn’t this what we as educators always strive for? When we plan, our best intentions is to have students learn what we are teaching them so that they know it. Perhaps I didn’t know what “Deeper Learning” was, so my next step was to do some research on what this term reflects.
Upon my search, I found more information on Deeper Learning at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation website. Deeper Learning is practiced in classrooms by students who focus on six specific competencies:
- Master core academic content
- Think critically and solve complex problems
- Communicate effectively
- Work collaboratively
- Learn how to learn
- Develop academic mindsets
I think many will concur that these competencies are valuable ingredients to engaging students to learn deeper. Perhaps, there are many of you that include these competencies in your instruction. The key is to not jump into this all at once, but perhaps take stock of what you already have been doing that allows students to partake in some deeper learning.
In EMC School’s Mirrors and Windows English Language Arts curriculum, there is not only a collection of rich diverse texts but tasks that accompany the selections are great avenues for deep learning. In the Level III Grade Eight curriculum we provide students the lyric poem, “ The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus.
EMC School provides thought provoking and self-reflective questions so students can place themselves in the shoes of immigrants and citizens (think critically and solve complex problems). In addition, the use of Flipgrid allows students to discuss with peers through video intriguing questions about new experiences (communicate effectively and work collaboratively). After students read the poem we provide additional tasks where students reflect on specific moments where they learned about themes in “The New Colossus” (learn how to learn).
If you think for a moment about what tasks and experiences you give your students, you most likely are providing them stepping stones for “Deeper Learning.”