Educators spend countless hours — even over the summer — ensuring they have the best curriculum possible for all of their students. This sort of process includes planning out classroom management strategies, engaging lessons, field trips, collaborative activities, and more. Nonetheless, extensive planning isn’t always enough to ensure that students receive and retain as much knowledge as possible. This is why teachers need to consistently go above and beyond the call of duty to strive for deeper learning — a process by which students not only engage with curriculum but also retain knowledge. While this may sound a bit daunting, there are several strategies that educators can follow on the path to deeper learning:
Expand Student Resources
According to Edutopia, one of the best ways to achieve deeper learning is by simply expanding the amount of resources available to your students.
Expanding resources available to students can help promote deeper learning
More clearly, students are far too often led to believe that the teacher is their only source of knowledge. While the teacher is certainly the primary day-to-day contact for a student’s education, bringing in outside resources can boost engagement with material as well as encourage mastery of new concepts. For example, if your students are exploring a unit about the solar system, introduce them to the planetarium. Even if your school doesn’t have the time or budget to plan a field trip, getting in touch with local resources and making them available to your students is incredibly helpful. For instance, you might contact a local botanic garden during a botany unit to see if there are any resources available to your students outside of school.
Model Work that Shows Higher Learning
One of the most difficult aspects of completing an assignment meaningfully, for a student, is knowing where to begin. Assume that you assign your students a project on a grammar rule. Even though you’ve probably taught this unit countless times, your students may have never seen this sort of project. As Expeditionary Learning recently tweeted, providing your students with models of excellent work from years past can promote deeper learning.
— EL Schools (@ExpedLearning) April 22, 2015
Luckily, as an educator, it shouldn’t be hard for you to amass a collection of innovative and successful student work from prior years that demonstrates strong mastery of content. Have these samples available to show interested students, or work them into your existing curriculum to promote deeper learning.
See the Finish Line
One of the best ways to promote deeper learning among your students is by designing curriculum with that end goal in mind. As Getting Smart has reported, teachers can benefit from determining what deeper learning will look like for a given lesson, and then planning the lesson accordingly. Being able to see the finish line, in this regard, is beneficial as it will inform the process when it comes to curriculum design and strategy.