STRATEGY: Provide multi-faceted teaching and learning approaches that support research-based methodology for deeper learning outcomes as well as social-emotional learning.
Effective school and district leaders provide multi-faceted teaching and learning approaches that support research-based methodology for deeper learning outcomes as well as social-emotional learning to provide more rigorous and relevant educational experiences for students. When school and district leaders ensure that their schools and classrooms push students to achieve the deeper learning competencies, they set in motion a framework of instructional expectations within a psychologically safe, collaborative learning environment to accelerate students’ attainment of future-ready skills. As students experience deeper learning with cognitive development and social-emotional learning, they emerge self-directed, motivated, and able to navigate current and future realities successfully. They develop self-efficacy leading to mastery of core academic content; they demonstrate higher levels of critical, analytical, and creative thinking; they establish relationships that reflect positive interdependence with peers and teachers; they communicate more effectively; and they become advocates for their own learning. As school and district leaders advance research-based methodology for deeper learning outcomes and social-emotional learning, they foster the conditions necessary for students to emerge from the educational system ready to achieve ambitious goals.
Deeper learning, found here the means for teaching students to use their knowledge and skills in a way that prepares them for real life. It emphasizes the mastery of core academic content through experiences that assign priority to thinking critically, collaborating, and communicating. As such, deeper learning increases students’ knowledge in the academic disciplines and enhances their ability to apply that knowledge to solve real-world challenges. When coupled with social-emotional learning, deeper learning accelerates students’ acquisition of sophisticated content knowledge and the skills needed to be critical thinkers, collaborators, and communicators. The pedagogy used to move students to the deeper learning competencies reflects a set of best practices, is conducive to varied educational contexts, and easily integrates into existing curricula.
First Steps to Consider
School and district leaders who are committed to the deeper learning competencies and social-emotional learning for their students must attend to multiple elements along a well-defined road map.
- Articulate a comprehensive profile of a graduate as the first step in defining the road map to achieving deeper learning outcomes and social-emotional learning.
- Establish a vision for the implementation of research-based methodology for deeper learning outcomes and social-emotional learning aligned to the profile of a graduate.
- Define a common language associated with deeper learning outcomes and social-emotional learning to promote a shared understanding of instructional and behavioral expectations.
- Establish a timeline for the planning and implementation process and identify key stakeholders to engage in the work of deeper and social-emotional learning.
- Develop a theory of action based on the vision that details the scope of activities and associated resources required to implement the plan.
- Center professional development on deeper learning and social-emotional learning.
- Configure the common areas, classrooms, and other school spaces to reflect the school’s approach to learning.
- Identify existing structures, strategies, and practices in the school that can be leveraged to advance the vision for deeper learning and social-emotional learning.
- Provide professional learning opportunities that support educators’ mastery of the identified deeper learning and social-emotional learning practices.
- Ensure that students and teachers have access to a well-articulated curriculum that provides meaningful and relevant learning experiences leading to the deeper learning competencies and social-emotional learning.
- Implement structures that allow teachers to design meaningful, deeper learning experiences collaboratively.
- Orient students to the type of learning they will experience in the school by providing opportunities for them to explore questions, identify their interests, and work in collaborative groups.
- Determine formative and summative measures to assess the effectiveness of the implementation plan.
- Design and implement a strategy for publicly recognizing students who demonstrate the deeper learning competencies.
Complexities & Pitfalls
- Lack of positive interdependence among staff members resulting in limited collaboration.
- Lack of commitment for deeper learning outcomes and social-emotional learning among staff members.
- Lack of a shared understanding of best practices aligned to deeper learning outcomes and social-emotional learning.
- Lack of structures, strategies, and practices to support deeper learning outcomes and social-emotional learning.
- Dismissal of the priority of student voice and choice in the design of learning experiences.
- Establishment of deeper learning experiences for students as an intermittent expectation versus establishing deeper learning experiences as the school culture.
- Failing to monitor and adjust the implementation plan based on formative and summative assessment outcomes.
- Who will be involved in setting the vision for deeper learning and social-emotional learning at the school?
- How can school and district leaders ensure that the vision is well understood by staff, students, families, and other stakeholders? What would a strong communication strategy look like, and how might it differ by audience?
- How can school and district leaders engage teachers and students in deeper learning experiences?
- How can school and district leaders support teachers in designing deeper learning experiences for students? What research will support the design of deeper learning experiences?
- How can school and district leaders measure the impact of deeper learning experiences on students? What types of performance data, exhibits of learning, and/or products might demonstrate deeper learning outcomes and/or provide evidence of social-emotional learning?
- How can school and district leaders cultivate teacher leaders who facilitate deeper learning in schools?
- How can school and district leaders leverage research-based methodology for deeper learning outcomes and social-emotional learning to create, advance, and ensure equitable learning?
- How can school and district leaders leverage technology to support a deeper learning culture, deeper learning pedagogy, and deeper learning outcomes?
- What barriers to deeper learning outcomes and social-emotional learning might be present at the different stages of implementation and how might leaders overcome these barriers?
- What strategies might be implemented to build a strong sense of community and collective responsibility for deeper learning and social-emotional learning?