As students prepare for college and careers in the 21st century, it is essential that they are equipped with a wide range of knowledge, skills, and dispositions. While content knowledge is vital, students need to be able to use that knowledge in a way that prepares them for the real world. They must engage in deeper learning that not only addresses academic content, but also fosters critical thinking, collaboration, communication, self-directed learning, and an academic mindset. These skills and dispositions have rarely been an explicit focus in classrooms, but there are some examples of schools that make them a priority.
The goal of this study tour was for participants to learn about schools that promote a focus on deeper learning through personalized learning experiences that prepare students for college and career success.
Participants visited two high schools in Oakland: Envision Academy and Life Academy. The visits consisted of classroom and internship observations, student and teacher panels, and discussions with administrators and network leaders. During the on-site visits and discussions with school leaders, participants studied the role of the following practices in promoting deeper learning for college and career success:
- Learner-driven instruction
- Project-based and interdisciplinary learning
- Performance-based approaches to assessment
- Graduation portfolios
- Re-envisioned role of the teacher
- School/community partnerships