At the beginning of the school year, I spent part of a day in meetings with other freshmen teachers to discuss “Deep Learning”. As anyone can guess, it is the opposite of shallow learning. To quote one handout, “Deep learning promotes understanding and application for life.” This reminds me of what John Dewey, a late 19th century-early 20th century educator and philosopher, said, ” Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” Life is full of conflict or problems. Dewey made a point to say, “We only think when confronted with a problem.” This must explain why my brain hurt so much after math class. It had to have been all of the problems.
In this way our schools have not changed much; we are still trying to get our students to solve problems. At our meeting, I laughed because of this lack of change. Someone wants to reinvent the wheel with new educational jargon. The truth is “a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.” Teachers today are doing a great job of challenging the students to think.
For example, one teacher showed us her website http://HarrisEnglish.weebly.com/ she uses for her lesson plans and to communicate with parents. And, we found out we can have students blog on it, which is Deep Learning. Students will have to think about what they write, communicate effectively, collaborate with others, and analyze the topic to a point that they truly understand what they are writing about. I have set up a blog using http://wallwishers.com for students in several of our English classes to discuss To Kill A Mockingbird.
Only fear prevents some teachers from shifting the way they challenge students to learn deeply. We must not forget another John Dewey philosophy: “The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs.” By embracing the technology available to us, by listening to the younger generation, and by accepting change, we can succeed and learn.