Deeper Learning: The Foreword

I wrote this blog post over a month ago and forgot to hit “publish.”  Oops!

Raise your hand if you are reading a great book/paper/article and then you end up on a rabbit trail to look up the sources in said book/paper/article.  I hope I’m not alone with my hand up!

Faculty at our school are reading parts of Deeper Learning: Beyond 21st Century Skills, James A. Bellanca, ed.  We’ve been tasked to read the Introduction, Chapter 2, and then 2 more chapters of our choice.  Well I can’t even make it past “The Foreword” without a blog post! Yes, I know, that means I haven’t even gotten to the required reading yet.  The foreword kept referencing the same report over and over, so I had to look it up; all 242 pages.  Since I didn’t have time to read all 242 pages if I’m to do my other summer work, I mostly skimmed.  But it looks like excellent reading.

BTW, if you can relate to this meme, you are one of my peeps.


As I read the foreword, I couldn’t help thinking of the awesome CPM curriculum (@CPMmath) that we piloted last year and are adopting for next year.  I also was struck that these ideas about Deeper Learning are what we’ve been doing in math education for years.  Is this not as prevalent in other disciplines? Is he (James Pellegrino) just getting everyone up to speed on the basics of Deeper Learning?  Is this a book designed for the novice, experienced, or advanced teacher who understands teaching for transfer?

In bullet point form, here are the points that resonated with me.

  • deeper learning can most simply be defined as learning for transfer (p. xvi)
  • through deeper learning, individuals understand when, how, and why to apply what they’ve learned (p. xvi)
  • 3 broad domains: cognitive, intrapersonal, interpersonal (p. xvi)
    • Cognitive competencies show consistent, positive correlations of modest size w/ students’ achieving higher levels of education, higher earnings, and better health. (p. xvii)
      • My response: Wanna help to lift up those who aren’t as privileged? Wanna decrease incarceration rates? Wanna decrease those on public assistance? Make sure that every. single. student. gets an excellent education. None of this garbage where money for schools is based on property taxes.  That perpetuates the cycle that students in poorer areas have less funding for their education.  Those are typically the students who need more funding for smaller schools and smaller class sizes, in addition to certain social services.
    • Intrapersonal competencies, conscientiousness – which includes such characteristics as being organized, responsible, and hardworking – shows the strongest relationship with these same desirable outcomes (higher levels of education, higher earnings, & better health). (p.xvii)
      • My response: As educators, it is our duty to also teach responsibility and organization skills.  They make a difference in the lives of our students for years beyond the time they have with us.  Some students struggle with executive functioning and will need additional support in these areas.
    • Antisocial behavior, which reflects deficits in both intrapersonal & interpersonal competencies, is related to poorer outcomes. (p. xvii)
      • My response: This hurts my heart and I’m not sure how to work well with these types of students.  This is an area where I need help and to grow.
    • While more research is needed & we can’t say causation at this point, only notice correlation, “this much is known, mastery of academic subject matter is not possible without deeper learning.” (p. xvii)
  • Deeper learning & the development of 21st century competencies do not happen separately from learning academic content (p. xix).  <— This is why we are assessing the MV Mindsets!
  • Hallmarks of teaching mathematics for understanding include:
    • The use of cognitively demanding mathematical tasks drawn from a broad array of content areas
    • The use of teaching practices that support collaboration and discourse among students and that engage them in mathematical reasoning and explanation, real-world applications, and use of technology or physical models (p. xx).
  • The Standards for Mathematical Practice (SMPs) give some attention to the intrapersonal competencies of self-regulation, persistence, and the development of an identity as someone who can do mathematics (p. xxi).  (Emphasis mine)
  • Creating more specific instructional materials & strategies to help students develop transferable competencies requires additional research (p. xxi).
  • Multiple stakeholder groups should actively support the development and use of curriculum and instructional programs that include research-based teaching methods to foster deeper learning (p. xxi).
  • Assessment must change to capture deeper learning (p. xxii).
  • Current approaches to teacher development need to change substantially to support deeper learning and the development of transferable knowledge & skills (p. xxii).  Do this by strengthening:
    • teachers’ understanding of their subject matter
    • their knowledge of how student learn
    • and their awareness of students’ common misconceptions about the subject matter
      • My thoughts: I find that too many teachers aren’t interested in increasing their knowledge of how students learn OR they aren’t interested in changing their methods if if they do know these things
    • Such environments are best structured as professional learning communities and require strong administrative support.

All posts in this series:

Deeper Learning: The Foreword – post 1 (this post)

Deeper Learning: The Introduction – post 2

Deeper Learning: Chapter 1 – Deeper Learning for Students Requires Deeper Learning for Educators <— My fave chapter for sure. – post 3


3 thoughts on “Deeper Learning: The Foreword

  1. Pingback: Deeper Learning – Chapter 2 – Dispositions: Critical Pathways for Deeper Learning | romathio

  2. Pingback: Deeper Learning: Chapter 1 – Deeper Learning for Students Requires Deeper Learning for Educators | romathio

  3. Pingback: Deeper Learning: The Introduction | romathio

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