Deeper Learning – Chapter 2 – Dispositions: Critical Pathways for Deeper Learning

This is the 4th in a series of posts I’m writing on the reading part of summer+ learning for my job.

Previous Posts:

Deeper Learning: The Foreword – post 1

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

On to the notes from this chapter – Dispositions: Critical Pathways for Deeper Learning

  • If we are to prepare students for a vastly different future, the first task is to identify what we believe to be the critical dispositions of deeper learners and then suggest ways to design instructional and assessment strategies intended to cultivate the growth of deeper learners over time.
  • Deeper learning …will necessitate transforming the educational process from a content-oriented, subject-centered, test-driven frame to a view of education being dispositional in nature.
    • Response: This makes me a bit nervous.  Definitely need to read more to understand what they mean.
  • There are a variety of views on what those dispositions should be.  In general, problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking, and effective communication.
    • Response: These are also 4 of the MV Mindsets.  The other 2 are creative thinking & ethical decision making.  Creative thinking was in one of the lists in the book.  What concerns me is only one of the models in the book mentioned ethics.  The others mean nothing if the person employing them is unethical.  I can see how this chapter would be a good all-school read since we will be assessing mindsets in all grades this year.
    • I’m still not convinced that dispositions should be the focus of education.  I see it as the undergirding for the learning of content.
  • Dispositions are under our control – we can consciously, intentionally choose to employ them rather than being mindlessly on autopilot
  • Sixteen dispositions of deeper learners – what intelligent people do when confronted with problems. these dispositions are journeys of continuous learning
    • 1. persisting
    • 2. managing impulsivity
      • Response: This makes me think of maturity.  As we mature, we understand more of cause & effect and thinking before speaking.  
    • 3. listening with understanding and empathy
      • Response: empathy is a major part of design thinking, which our school has embraced. creating solutions to problems that have an end user – empathize with the end user.
    • 4. thinking flexibly – open-minded, ability to change your thinking based on new information,
    • 5. thinking about your thinking (metacognition)
    • 6. striving for accuracy and precision
    • 7. questioning and problem posing
    • 8. applying past knowledge to novel situations
    • 9. thinking and communicating with clarity and precision
      • Response: reading the description makes me think they are talking about avoiding exaggeration
    • 10. gathering data through all senses
    • 11. creating, imagining, and innovating
    • 12. responding with wonderment and awe
    • 13. taking responsible risks
    • 14. finding humor
    • 15. thinking interdependently
    • 16. remaining open to continuous learning
    • Response: I’m not sold that deeper learners have to have all of these dispositions.  I know the authors said that there are journeys for each of the dispositions, but I get the impression that all 16 are supposed to be there in some way shape or form.
    • Authors believe when confronted with problematic situations, these dispositions serve as an internal compass. It might be referred to as inner self-coaching.  They argue these dispositions are more important than content knowledge.
      • Response: Why does it have to be one or the other?  I have difficulty when people say that content knowledge isn’t as important.  This is said by people who have content knowledge.  They don’t know what it would be like to go through life without the content knowledge they already have.  Plus when we think about scaffolding and building on prior knowledge, one must have content knowledge to actually build on.
  • Cultivating deeper learning with dispositions in mind
    • suggest dispositions become goals of curriculum & teachers deliberately teach & assess them.
      • Response: Again, I’m not against these dispositions & I do agree they should be taught and assessed. I’m glad we will assessing the mindsets specifically.  I just don’t think they are primary goals, but secondary goals.
    • 7 strategies to help students own the dispositions
      • 1. making dispositions explicit by establishing expectations
        • make sure to offer positive, descriptive feedback (not praise) to students when we are coaching them
      • 2. develop a common and consistent vocabulary throughout the culture of the classroom, the school, and the community
        • Response: When I first came to my current school, this is something that stood out to me.  Our school has done an excellent job of this.
      • 3. transferring and applying the disposition in many settings, circumstances, contexts, and situations
      • 4. operational dispositions as action
      • 5. building the vocabulary of deeper learning
        • Why did you do that? becomes “what was going on inside your head when you did that?”
        • why do you say that? becomes “from whose perspective are you seeing that?”
        • was that a good choice? becomes “what criteria did you have in mind as you made that choice?”
        • what are you going to do next time? becomes “what will you be aware of next time?”
      • 6. reflecting on the use of dispositions and setting goals for improvement
      • 7. modeling

 

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