Learning By Doing: The ABCs of K-12 Deeper Learning

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Organize.

Close your eyes and try to remember a favorite lesson from your childhood education. What comes to mind? We doubt that you’re thinking about a multiplication quiz or a spelling test. More likely, it’s a project-based learning experience—an activity that stoked your intense interest and encouraged deep exploration. 

That sort of classroom activity exemplifies deeper learning, a movement that aims to engage K-12 students in more active experiences to better prepare them for success in college and beyond.  Aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), supported by educational grants, and embraced by an increasing number of teachers around the U.S. (and around the world), deeper learning is gaining momentum.  This is the first of two posts in which we will introduce the concept of deeper learning and discuss why your K-12 sales organization should be paying attention.

The Basics: An Old Theory Gains New Traction

When the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was reauthorized in 2001 as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the updated legislation ushered in an era of unprecedented testing.  To the great frustration of most education stakeholders, K-12 curricula over the next decade increasingly taught to the test and focused almost exclusively on mathematics and reading/language arts.

In 2010, the Hewlett Foundation announced that moving forward its education program would champion the pursuit of a more rigorous, deeper learning method in U.S. classrooms.  The organization defined the deeper learning process as one through which students would master, “core academic content, like reading, writing, math, and science, while learning how to think critically, collaborate, communicate effectively, direct their own learning, and believe in themselves.

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