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Arriving at a Definition of Learning

Edutopia – Beth Holland

“Recently, I was asked to explain the difference between blended learning, personalized learning, and differentiated instruction. Initially, I imagined a Venn diagram—instead of focusing on the differences, I argued that it’s more important to find the commonalities.” (more)

25 Years, 1 Million Kids. How Expeditionary Deeper Learning Engages Students Through Inquiry, Discovery & Creativity

The 74 Million – Kate Stringer

“This process of inquiry, discovery, and creativity is called an expedition and lies at the heart of the EL Education model, formerly known as Expeditionary Learning. Two Rivers, serving grades pre-K to 8, is one of more than 160 EL schools in 30 states that employ this nearly 25-year-old approach, which emphasizes content, character, and craftsmanship as measures of student achievement. Its teachers and leaders say this form of whole-child, project-based learning is the key to the network’s success across geographies and socioeconomic backgrounds, reaching more than 50,000 students last year, and 1 million in its history.”(more)

Education on dialogue imperative

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


In human societies there will always be differences of views and interests. But the reality today is that we are all interdependent and have to co-exist…. Therefore, the only sensible and intelligent way of resolving differences and clashes of interests, whether between individuals or nations, is through dialogue. – Dalai Lama

Many people find it challenging to converse about subjects that matter deeply to them without getting into a dispute. As a result, public discourse about divisive issues is often characterized by destructive debate that eventually leads to division and violence.

Social media seems to have exacerbated this problem. Before the era of electronic profiles and discussions, communication was face to face, by phone, via email, or in writing. People could select written materials of interest to them and most people were careful to communicate their political and/or social views in ways that were not offensive to those around them.

Now many people log their societal and political viewpoints in social media posts without the normal inhibitions that control they way they communicate in person. Many times the comments are personal attacks rather than ideas. In addition, the caustic comments are continually linked to a person in a visual way that tends to alienate friends and acquaintances that have different views.

While it is comforting to have supporters, it is also important to have outside input. As a result, it is imperative that we find ways to encourage dialogue. For this to happen, people need the freedom to express their viewpoints, regardless of how unconventional or radical, the wisdom and skill to present those ideas in diplomatic ways, and a willingness to listen to opposing viewpoints.

Unfortunately, these skills cannot be learned by osmosis, but must be honed over many years. With the increased focus on standardized tests, many of the classes where students learned to participate in dialog through the discussion on complex topics like firearms, law enforcement, war, race, controlled substances, social programs, gender, corruption, religion, incarceration, media and money, etc. have been removed from school offerings.

Even though these classes are challenging to teach and require government entities to turn a blind eye, students need exposure to topics that have a variety of viewpoints and so they can learn how to effectively communicate with others for the collective good.

If we allow freedom of speech and provide education on effective dialogue, perhaps we can limit the division and violence that is prevalent in the U.S. today.

“Deeper learning” continues to show higher high school graduation rates

The Hechinger Reports – Jill Barshay

“One of the most mocked terms the education reform movement has come up with is “deeper learning.” It reminds me of my high school days, when we would sarcastically fill a silence with, “Whoa, that’s deep,” after a classmate’s incomprehensible statement. When you ask a proponent of “deeper learning” what it means, you get a jargon-filled earful about collaboration, project-based learning, self-directed learning, problem solving, critical thinking and communication. At high schools that are practicing it, you hear about small classes, caring advisers, student work that can be shown off in a portfolio and the opportunity for students to do internships in the real world. To the lay person, it seems like a kitchen sink of good educational practices. Many high schools in America claim to do these same things.”(more)

More schools are working to integrate the arts into classroom learning

The Washington Post – Donna St. George

“The creative buzz in Room 19 is increasingly common in the school as Prince George’s County expands an initiative to integrate the arts into teaching and learning. Started last year in 15 schools, the growing effort now includes 41 schools in Maryland’s second-largest school system. Those involved say they use art in many forms across the curriculum as a way to make content more meaningful and deepen student learning. The new strategy comes as interest in arts integration is growing nationally, driven in part by increasing research that points to academic, social and personal benefits for students…”(more)

Deeper Learning Is a Global Concern

Education Week – Robert Rothman

“While schools and school systems in the United States have been retooling their curriculum and instruction to develop a broad set of knowledge and skills among students, other countries have been doing the same thing. That’s one conclusion from a newly released report issued by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. The report analyzed some 450 policies adopted by industrialized countries over the past few years, and found that they generally fell in six categories: ensuring equity and quality in education; preparing students for the future; school improvement; evaluation and assessment to improve student outcomes; reforming governance; and reforming funding.”(more)