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Reflection: How Deeper Learning Prepares Students for College and Career

Reflection: How Deeper Learning Prepares Students for College and Career

Author: Jody Waltman

In this lesson, you will consider how Deeper Learning helps prepare students for college and career. You will reflect on how you implement Deeper Learning in the classroom and ways that you can enhance your approach to Deeper Learning.

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In this tutorial, we'll reflect on how deeper learning can help to prepare students for college and career readiness. We'll begin by reviewing deeper learning and its connections to college and career readiness, or CCR. Then I will model reflecting on my implementation of the deeper learning core competencies. I'll use my reflection to generate a sample action plan. And as I go through this reflection and the creation of the action plan, I encourage you to do some reflecting of your own and to use the results of your reflection to create your own action plan.

So let's begin with just a review of deeper learning and its connections to college and career readiness. Remember that deeper learning is an approach that provides rigorous core content to students in innovative, authentic ways with the overall goal of preparing students for their future educational experiences and for their future careers. We want to help our students gain these important skills in this important knowledge through our specific approach to teaching and learning when we focus on the deeper learning core competencies.

These include having students master the core academic content in the areas the math, language arts, social studies, and science Having students think critically and solve complex problems-- this involves using the creativity and logic to reason and analyze their way through problems. We want students to work collaboratively. That is, we want students to work well with others as they work together towards achieving a shared goal.

We want students to be able to communicate effectively and to learn how to learn. That is, we want our students to be self-directed learners who understand their own learning styles and preferences. And who know how to make necessary adjustments to their learning strategies where needed. And finally, we want our students to develop academic mindsets. We want to create learners who are motivated, who believe in themselves and their potential to learn, and who also see their learning as relevant to their future success.

So what I would like to do at this point is reflect on my own implementation of these deeper learning core competencies. And I will use of the strengths and weaknesses that I identify in my reflection to develop an action plan for myself. So in core competency one, mastering core academic content, I think I have two strengths here. I think I find in both my math classes and my French classes a good balance of the foundational skills and the new knowledge and the extensions of knowledge that I'm asking my students to learn. I think I also do a really great job of linking to other disciplines.

In core competency number two, thinking critically and solving complex problems, I can identify both a strength and a weakness here. I think one of my strengths is in encouraging my students to analyze and to think critically. But I think I still need to be better at actually pushing them to follow through here.

In deeper learning core competency three, working collaboratively, again, I think there is a strength and a weakness that I have here. I think one of my strengths is that I encourage students to work collaboratively during their independent work time. A weakness here is that I don't know that I provide enough structured collaborative work for my students.

In core competency number four, communicating effectively, I think I have two strengths here. I definitely encourage multiple types of communication in my classroom. Not only in my French class where I encourage students to read and write and speak and listen, but also in my math class where I encourage the use of proper vocabulary and notation. So that leads me into my second strength here. I have a strong focus in both of my subject areas on the proper use of vocabulary and notation that overall helps students to communicate more effectively in that particular subject area.

The fifth deeper learning core competency, learning how to learn, again, I think I have two strengths here. I think I do a good job of focusing on having students be self-directed learners during their work time. While I do encourage students to work together, I also emphasize the importance of students being aware of their own progress. I ask them to self monitor. And I think another strength that I have in this area is that I model this skill when students ask me something that I don't know the answer to. I model for my students that I don't know everything, but I certainly want to learn all that I can and so will sometimes use the iPad or the computer to look up an answer together or to research a new topic together.

And finally in deeper learning core competency number six, developing academic mindsets, again, I think I have two strengths here. I think I do a great job of modeling this academic mindset for my students all of the time. Because this really is how I approach a learning in my everyday life. And I also like to provide for my students links to their future educational opportunities and their future careers whenever possible. Again, in both of my subject areas, whenever I find a way to do so, I like to point out to students how information is going to be applied for them perhaps in future college courses or in careers that I happen to be familiar with.

So as the product of my reflection, I've identified two goals for myself. I would like to find more ways to encourage my students to actually follow through in the process of thinking critically and reasoning logically. And I also want to provide more opportunities for my students to work collaboratively on carefully structured tasks.

So here's my action plan for my first goal, finding more ways for my students to follow through in critical thinking and logical reasoning skills. First, I need to find specific ways that I can increase the focus in my classroom on critical thinking and analysis. One way that I thought I might be able to do this is actually during lessons when I am implementing a very traditional lecturing technique, I might need to increase the wait time that I'm providing after I ask students questions. I'm not sure that I am really providing them with enough time to logically think through a question or to think critically about the higher order thinking questions that I'm asking.

So on that vein, I actually would like to incorporate more higher order thinking and questioning techniques into not only my lessons, but also learning activities that I'm having my students complete. So my timeline for this goal is that I would like to implement some of these strategies and then reflect after the first month of the upcoming school year.

And then for my second goal, providing more structured opportunities for my students work collaboratively, this is an opportunity for me to ask my colleagues both in person and in online forums about any tips that they might be able to share with me for providing those collaborative opportunities. I know I've had some unsuccessful attempts in incorporating group work into my classroom in the past. And so that's probably why I've shied away from it recently. So maybe some inspiration from my colleagues might help me to gain a new focus here.

I would like to begin by building some of these collaborative tasks into activities and assessments that already exist in my classroom. So that I'm not creating everything from scratch, but I'm just approaching the collaborative element from scratch here. I also would like to just pay more attention to how my students are naturally grouping themselves in my classroom. Since I do encourage them to work together during their independent work time, it might be valuable information for me to think about as I observe how they naturally group themselves to work together. And that might help inform my decisions about how I form these collaborative groups.

So my timeline is that I want to plan some collaborative activities for the first two units of the upcoming school year. And then at the end of those first two units, I want to both employ some self reflection and I would like to gather some student feedback just to see how students are feeling about the impact of these collaborative activities as well.

So you witnessed my reflection and my sample action plan. Now it's your turn. Reflect on your implementation of these six core competencies of deeper learning. When you've identified some of your weaknesses, use those to identify some goals. And then create an action plan that will outline the steps that you would like to take. For more information on how to apply what you learned in this video, please view the additional resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The additional resources section includes hyperlinks useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource. Thanks for watching. Have a great day.

Notes on "Reflection: How Deeper Learning Prepares Students for College and Career"

(00:00 - 00:37) Introduction

(00:38 - 02:09) Review Deeper Learning & College & Career Readiness

(02:10 - 05:35) Model Reflection

(05:36 - 08:29) Sample Action Plan

(08:30 - 09:12) Stop and Reflect

Additional Resources

Deeper Learning Video Series

This series of Teaching Channel videos includes 50 videos from the perspectives of the teacher, student, and class on transitioning to deeper learning practices in the classroom. The videos clearly demonstrate deeper learning practices in action.

Deeper Learning Competencies: April 2013

This handout from the Hewlett Foundation describes the deeper learning skills and their application in the classroom. This is a useful overview of deeper learning.