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Deeper Learning Digest: The Importance of Fostering Deeper Learning in the Classroom

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May 20, 2016 05:11 pm

deeper learning

Although deeper learning is more crucial than ever, it is still too rare in the nation’s classrooms, reports the Seattle Times. Deeper learning only occurs in one in five classrooms, according to a recent study of high schools, the article notes, and yet, the changing economy requires students to have deeper learning skills. The Times explores the study, conducted by Jal Mehta, an organizer of Education Week’s Learning Deeply blog, on why deeper learning is so rare.  According to Mehta, few teachers have experienced deeper learning themselves, making it difficult to apply it in their own classroom. Mehta says that a focus on standardized tests can take away incentive for project-based learning that is key to deeper learning. The study also found that deeper learning varies greatly within schools, not just between schools. Learn more:

Donique Reid, policy and research associate at the Alliance, takes a look inside the classroom at strategies that impede deeper learning in a recent blog post. She explains that “teachers should provide students with in-depth opportunities to form their own claims and analyze texts to prepare for college, a career, and life,” and yet “not all teachers are fully equipped with the skills to do this and too often these teachers serve large numbers of students of color and students from low-income families.” Reid also explores how the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) outlines opportunities for states and local education agencies to build teacher capacity to support deeper learning. Read the full post:

In a new post from Vander Ark on Innovation, an Education Week series, Tom Vander Ark discusses the importance of personalized, project-based learning, its challenges, and several successful models. These schools “value deeper learning and development of success skills (growth mindset and social emotional learning)…track competency in all outcome areas…provide customized supports to build individualized skill fluency to allow students with learning gaps to fully engage in challenging projects.” Check out these next generation models:

If students don’t use deeper learning skills, they will use lose them. That’s what Robyn Harper, policy and advocacy associate at the Alliance, says in a recent blog post on brain-informed reasons to focus on adolescent education. Harper explains that during adolescence, the brain undergoes a “pruning” process, removing unused or under-used pathways. When students are younger, Harper says, they are naturally exposed to more opportunities that foster deeper learning, such as peer interaction and mentally stimulating activities. However, in secondary education, students learn in a more individualized way, completing assignments independently. With this shift, it is especially important for students to have opportunities to engage in deeper learning, so investments in early education are not lost. More:

Deeper Learning Digest, Every Student Succeeds Act

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