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Ten Priorities to Activate Deep Learning and Lift from Loss

Authors: Joanne Quinn, Mag Gardner, Max Drummy, Michael Fullan New Pedagogies for Deep Learning


Dr. Mag Gardner, Senior Global Capacity Facilitator for New Pedagogies for Deep Learning, gave a dynamic, inspiring presentation to educators at the Galileo Institute's EdCON OU at Oakland University on November 5, 2022. Among the resources she generously shared that day was this article:


Ten Priorities to Activate Deep Learning and Lift from Loss:


1. "Use an Asset Lens" "Treat people like they're broken and they will respond as though they are. Use an asset lens by recognizing strengths and investing belief in them and they will surprise you. Begin by listening to student voice. Interview kids to hear their stories, how they have coped, and what they have come to understand about themselves at this time. Listen and watch for the learning gains rather than the gaps and build on those. Co-identify new learning possibilities that could inspire them to re-focus on their futures."


2. "Nurture Well-being" "We cannot all be mental health specialists, but we can all be human. Authentic relationships are key to supporting our collective well-being. Take dedicated time to nurture meaningful connections with students so they know you care. Remind students of the importance of friendship and how to support each other. Everyone in the community, staff, students, and parents should be aware of how to recognize trauma and how, as humans, they an offer support. for those students who are alienated solidify the connection with an enduring caring adult who will check in with the student for at least six months."


3. "Make school a happy place" "For students, being at home has been at its best, lonely. Refresh the school community by restoring joy, color, music, laughter, movement, and celebration. Bring back the heart-warming rituals and shared norms that generate psychological safety and inclusion. Consider ways to help each student feel special, significant, and that they belong to a community. Make it a place where they want to be. This is not fluff or a detour from the learning. To reach students' minds, we must pass through their hearts first.


4. "Ignite their interest through deep learning" "Know that fanfare will only take you so far. If the spectre of boredom (such as textbooks, quizzes, and worksheets) haunts the classroom, students will quickly disengage, and it will be a sure sign that nothing has authentically changed at school. We need to re-engage students with deep, meaningful, relevant learning. There is a lot to do here but the simplest way to begin is by incorporating student voice and choice. Position yourself as a learner by listening to what students are interested in. Model curiosity and theirs will quickly follow.


5. "Remember: one size fits no one" "When you have listened to students' interests and strengths, meet them where their minds are. This may mean differentiated instruction, purposeful grouping, customized timetabling, individualized support, partnering with students with other experts. While this sounds like a lot of work up front, it will reduce disengagement and other concerns later on."


6. "Don't track, don't test, don't retain" "Tracking testing and retaining practices hold students back. Students view these as punishment like a curse that keeps on giving. It may happen once but its effects chip away at student confidence and competence for a lifetime. Instead, agree as a staff that for one full month, you will delay dispensing judgement. Suspend practices that alienate students. Instead, substitute with interactive strategies like descriptive feedback, small group and individual conferencing and self/peer assessment. Then students bounce to life as they take interest and gain independence in their learning."


7. "Don't migrate from tech - leverage it" "Our growth in digital competencies has significantly increased our ability to connect and communicate. Consider how parents have become more engaged at this time. Middle and secondary students have had improved email access to teacher support. Social media has broadcasted upbeat and hopeful messaging. Through internet, students have been exposed to some of the finest museums, galleries and events in the world. Collaborative problem-solving meetings are easily conducted by digital. Tech is effective when it moves beyond mere transmission to foster connection and discovery. Why would we let all this go?"


8. "Forge new pathways for those who need it most" "When addressing extreme needs, give the student an active voice in the process and solution finding. Collaboratively forge an intentional pathway of support that the students can see themselves on. Be open to the students' suggestions, no matter how unconventional they may be. Consider a robust range of fresh alternatives that gives them hope, optimism and generates commitment. Seize summer opportunities to catapult curiosity and generate community while facilitating new skills. Pursue other constructive strategies like: experiential programs, creative time-tabling, credit recovery, waiving prerequisites, granting credit for life skills and work experience can empower students. Invite their feedback. Negotiate how marks will be generated. These strategies will be interpreted as a handshake rather than a hand-out."


9. "Create a Hub for All" "Roll out the welcome mat for the community by partnering with agencies, public libraries, local businesses and food banks. Make WIFI available to all. Re-examine your facility policies. Strong families are rooted in strong communities. When we nurture relationships with the community and our families, we enable everyone to be their best. When children see their families invested as a part of the school space, it becomes a safe and essential space for them too."


10. "Leave no one behind" "Remember, that transitions are difficult for everyone, even for seasoned staff. In one year, our neuropathways have been rewired and returning to face-to-face schooling represents another significant change. The kids will not be well if adults are not well. Many of these priorities listed above aptly apply to the adults just as they would to our children. So, this is our chance to come back anew. The pandemic has robbed so many life moments. Let's not let it rob schools of this unique opportunity."


"Embrace these ten priorities and forge a pathway to schools of promise and possibility."


Quinn, Joanne, et al., Ten Priorities to Activate Deep Learning and Lift from Loss Copyright 2021 Education in Motion (New Pedagogies for Deep Learning) www.deeplearning.global

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