Reflections on Deeper Learning: Introduction

This summer, all faculty and staff at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School have the opportunity to choose at least three chapters from Deeper Learning: Beyond 21st Century Skills to read. This anthology, edited by James Bellanca, includes essays from some of the biggest names in education. I am particularly interested in diving into Chapter 4, Suzie Boss’ piece on technology and project-based learning; Chapter 6, Tony Wagner’s essay on “educational reforms that aren’t”; and Chapter 9, Linda Darling-Hammond/David T. Conley’s work on assessment of deeper learning. Additionally, all faculty are asked to read Chapter 2, which examines dispositions for deeper learning.

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As I read through the introduction, a few points resonated with me:

  • One definition of deeper learning is “the ability to master rigourous acedemic content through the application of higher-order skills, including critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, learning to learn, and the development of an academic mindset.” (p. 3)
    • I am most interested to learn more about the last 2 points: learning to learn and the development of an academic mindset. Neuroscience is becoming a bigger topic of conversation at our school, and I am eager to see how Deeper Learning addresses and overlaps with neuroscience.
  • There are six essential elements of deeper learning:
    • Mastery of core academic content
    • Critical thinking and problem solving
    • Collaboration
    • Communication in writing and speaking
    • Self-directed learning
    • Academic mindset
  • Equally important is the element of transfer. To truly experience deeper learning, learners also need to be able to transfer their understanding to new situations.

On to Chapter 2!

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