We Are Not Newtonian Billiard Balls! The Need for a New Approach to Adult Learning.

Watkins explores how tacit Newtonian, mechanistic beliefs about organization and learning inhibit our capacity to create adult learning environments (and school district systems) that can sustain the deeper learning that teachers collectively need in order to create consistent and pervasive deeper learning environments for students. He then proposes newer heuristics that derive from constructivism, natural systems, and complexity theory.

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John Watkins
A Pernicious Myth: Basics Before Deeper Learning.

Mehta argues that “If there is one prevalent assumption that stands in the way of deeper learning, it is that you have to do ‘the basics’ before you can engage in deeper learning.” He adds, “There is also the fact that the ‘basics first’ approach also tends to reproduce inequalities in schools.” He goes on to describe effective alternatives to this view and practice. A frame for this changed perspective includes seeing Bloom’s as a web rather than a ladder, and re-engaging learners in the process.

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Jal Mehta
Deeper learning in other settings as a model for schools.

The authors set out to write about powerful learning in core disciplinary classes, but found instead that those spaces were often full of passive and bored students, in contrast to extracurriculars like dance, theater, sports, newspapers, and more that were full of student passion and apprenticeship-style learning. They argue the need for purpose and audience, choice, community, interdependence, an “arc to learning,” apprenticeship type learning; overall, an approach that fosters mastery, creativity, and identity, and plays “the whole game at the junior level.”

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Jal Mehta
Blog: Deeper Learning Has a Race Problem—And It May Have the Solution.

The author’s summary may best describe this blog: “In the end, perhaps the most important question we can ask about deeper learning and race is: What educational model will most effectively prepare our children to dismantle the racism that plagues our society?  Will it be the factory model in which students are told a particular narrative about the history of their country and the world, and then trained to regurgitate it? Or will it be a model that encourages critical thinking, collective dialogue, and problem solving? Deeper learning is impacted by the same race problem the rest of our society suffers from: racism. Deeper learning is also our best hope at dismantling it.” Seidel suggests four (from among many) strategies that are already being done, and must be done by more of us, to address this racism.

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Sam Seidel
No One Has a Monopoly on Deeper Learning.

Where do we find deeper learning? This blog describes how it emerges in settings where mastery, creativity, and identity come together. “There is more deeper learning going on in the ‘periphery’ (extracurriculars and electives) than the ‘core’ (core disciplinary classes).” “[In] these domains … students are playing ... the ‘whole game at a junior level’...”

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Jal Mehta