Deeper Learning Week 1 Reflection and Thoughts

Below are my key takeaways from the contents of week 1 from Deeper Learning
Panel Discussion Notes and Thoughts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36rzTUM_CuE

Deeper Learning consists of three things
1. Identity – does it connect with students and matter?
2. Mastery – are students building up a mastery level of content
3. Creation – are students actually making and doing
Can you describe a powerful learning experience in your life? General people share outside of school but meet the three ideas above.
Listening to the student talk about her project and how it did not work on the day of exhibition, but still earned a good grade because teacher knew all the work that went into it and recognized that the process allowed her to get the job done. I wonder how often this actually happens in education? The reality is that a non performing project would be deducted points even if journey proved more learning compared to one that did work. Something to sit on a bit and think about. Possibly find out more insights from educators about what they would do would be helpful avenues to explore
Students are aware of the basic group formula(teacher created) where you get stuck with kids who don’t do work. I found her insight both humorous and sad. Why do we do this? I know I have done it time and time again. Is this really a benefit? I often times think it becomes a disservice.
A great question to ask students – What is happening in this class?
Is PBL for everyone? Is it important for every student to learn how to collaborate and work together? There are a variety of ways to make it happen. It is process.
PBL does not work unless adults are tuning and making sure the questions are worthwhile. Have to stop working in isolation. All the things that students need to do is what teachers should be doing.
As educators we often times forget to go to the source which are the students. I think PBL makes this conversation happen more.
Ask Ss: What is the best type of assessment/feedback that you have ever had on your work?
While the content of any learning experience is important, the particular content is irrelevant. What really matters is how students react to it, shape it, or apply it. The purpose of learning in this century is not simply to recite inert knowledge, but, rather, to transform it.1 It is time to change the subject.
We can’t force students to develop agency and drive their own learning. It must come from within.
I love this thought because the reality is that if the student is building a wall of defense against learning we can have a real battle. We don’t give up on them, but we must realize that the success is not going to happen overnight. Rather as the article states we can create an atmosphere and culture of learning that will lend itself toward the four mindsets to develop and grow. These four mindsets are: growth mindset, Self-Efficacy,  Sense of Belonging, and Relevance. As an educator I think that we realistically have control over the last three. Growth mindset must come from within. Being a coach for sports and robotics it takes a mutual commitment for a mindset to change to growth. The other three we can nurture quite easily within our schools.
In the article he states
Start with the adults: Research shows that students’ mindsets are heavily influenced by the interactions they have with people around them. For example, studies show that when we praise kids for being smart when they perform well, we inadvertently put them in a fixed mindset. They start focusing on trying to look smart, avoid challenge, see effort as a sign of weakness, and fall apart when things get hard (Mueller & Dweck, 1998). Psychology research clearly shows that language that praises students’ intelligence or abilities backfires and leads to students’ self-doubt and avoidance of challenge.
This is monumental! I view this even more broadly in terms of working with educators to ensure they have a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. I often encounter so many adults and educators that have a fixed mindset. We must work to develop and nuture this mindset so that each classroom demonstrates this way of thought.
Even further, we have to help students learn more about themselves and brain. It has to be specific. It needs to be a class. Working on a big PBL unit where we tried to help the world we realized as educators that many students did not know themselves or have any contributions to the world. If we want collaboration and change for the world we cannot neglect the individual first. It has to start from within so we must explicitly teach about mindset, the brain, and habits.
These are my key thoughts from week one of the readings and panel discussions. Time to get caught up for week 2.
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