Introduction to Learning That Lasts with Ron Berger
Ron Berger gives an introduction to the book Learning That Lasts.
- Many educators these days are working to instill deeper learning in students, which means we’re trying to make sure we get beyond coverage to make sure students understand things deeply and well. It also means that we’re trying to get beyond just academic skills and content to make that sure students build the skills to take their learning and bring it into the real world, which means skills like critical thinking and problem-solving, it means collaboration, communication, creativity, so there’s a lot of conversation about those as student outcomes these days. This is not a new focus really for education. To be honest, this is the reason most of us got into education in the first place. The problem has been that we are now as educators asked to cover so much material and there’s such high pressure for us to prepare students for high stakes tests in just a few subjects that it’s hard for us to go back to the original purpose for public schooling in America, which is to give kids the skills to be great workers, to be great citizens, and to be good human beings. So we are trying to back away from that narrow focus of today and get back to the original purpose of public schooling through getting kids to do deeper learning about their academics and their citizenship and who they are as a human being. There’s not as much conversation today though about the kind of instruction that it would take to bring kids to those outcomes. So at EL have created this book, “Learning That Lasts,” to give some examples of what it could look like to have the kind of instruction that leads to deeper learning. How would lessons look different? How would a daily flow for a kid be different? How could classrooms be different? There is one model of instruction right now, Project-Based Learning, that works really well for instilling deeper learning in students. But even in Project-Based Learning, there’s the need for strong instruction, and teachers are not always sure how do you do the kind of instruction within projects that build deeper learning. And beyond that, most kids and most schools in America are not doing projects most of the time. So all day long, during their daily lessons, how do we make sure all of those lessons are pushing kids towards deeper learning? How do we take every lesson and make it stronger and deeper in that way? In “Learning That Lasts,” we offer a framework for what we call “Deeper Instruction.” And that framework has three parts. We ask that lessons be challenging, be engaging, and be empowering for students. And we’ve called Best Practices from our network of 150 schools across the country, high achieving schools that are finding success in instilling deeper learning, and offer this as a part of teacher’s toolkit, to offer you strategies and practices, and to offer you examples of what lessons could look like across all subjects K-12 to make deeper instruction a part of the whole day every day for students.