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To Engage Students and Teachers, Treat Core Subjects Like Extracurriculars

KQED News Mind/Shift – Leah Shaffer

“Education researchers Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine have been observing different school systems over the past six years in an attempt to document the variables that contribute to deeper learning. But as they spent more time in schools, it was hard to ignore the ways in which the activity around the edges of institutions — elective courses, extracurricular activities — was where students and teachers “were most fired up,” said Fine, a postdoctoral student at Harvard Graduate School of Education. “It wasn’t that we didn’t find powerful disciplinary classes. It’s just that they’re much fewer and far between,” she said. Fine and Mehta decided to widen their lens to understand why those peripheral spaces were so much more powerful than the center. Does that mean English class has to be transformed into theater for deeper learning to occur? Or that math should involve fantasy baseball leagues where students crunch the player stats to make the best team? Not necessarily, but that’s one way to think about tapping into student engagement.”(more)

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