- How can schools organize for powerful learning?
- Organizing schools around students'
development and learning – Teachers will
understand that organizing schools for powerful learning
means integrating what we know about children's development
and learning with what we know about organizing curriculum
- Providing structural features that
support powerful learning – Teachers will
understand the structural features of schools that support
teaching and learning for understanding.
This session synthesizes the body of learning theory presented
in this course and suggests how it can be used to organize
school environments that support teaching and learning for
Teaching and Learning for Understanding
- Teaching for understanding means teaching "all students,
not just a few, to understand ideas deeply and perform proficiently"
- Schools that foster deep understanding are designed to
build on what we know about how children learn.
- Taken together, the principles of learning theory create
a school culture that supports learning in everything the
- The learning theories in this course are interrelated.
They have to come together if powerful learning is to occur.
- The application of learning principles needs to be coherent
across the school.
- Schools that have reorganized themselves around how people
- support the growth and development of the individual
- create a positive, productive environment for learning
- organize the curriculum content for students to master
Structural Features of Schools
that Support Learning
- A coherent, connected approach to teaching
and learning can be supported by the structural features
of school design.
- School features that support powerful
learning include –
- active, in-depth learning
- emphasis on authentic performance
- attention to development
- appreciation for diversity
- opportunities for collaborative learning
- collective perspective across the school
- structures for caring
- support for democratic learning
- connections to family and community
School-Wide Reform Requires Institutional
Support of Teachers' Collaborative Practice
among teachers is a critical key to school reform –
both within and across schools. Structured time for collaboration
gives teachers time to study their own and each other's "best
practices" (Little, 1999).
- Institutional support of teachers' collaboration
- Teachers can collaborate to design learning
theory can inform both classroom and school design.
- Teachers can focus on student learning
by collectively mapping curriculum and conceptualizing learning
- Teachers can use collaboration as a tool
to reflect on and look at their own teaching.
What Makes Schools Powerful
The two schools that are featured in this Session, Birmingham
Covington School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and East Palo
Alto High School in east Palo Alto, California were both explicitly
designed to capitalize on what we have come to know about
the learning of both students and teachers. Each school integrates
important structural features of environments that support
teaching and learning for understanding across grade levels
Schools that have organized everything they do around
what enhances learning achieve extraordinary outcomes in large
part because they are working with the way people learn
and making every classroom a learning classroom.
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Materials for Session 13