Let’s Make it Stick – A Commitment to Deeper Learning
Almost exactly two years ago, I was packing my bag and getting ready to go to Los Angeles. Jay McTighe and I had a large pre-conference session at the 2020 ASCD Annual Conference and also a special session on our new book that had recently launched, Teaching for Deeper Learning. We were excited to share the important concept of deep learning with passionate educators.
And then the world shut down.
As I write this, I’m preparing to board a plane to Chicago, where this year’s Annual ASCD Conference will once again be held in person. Two full years later, Jay and I will finally conduct the workshop we planned more than two years ago. And as I think about what the last two years have meant for teachers, administrators, students, and families, I realize that the need for deeper learning—for learning that actively engages students in making meaning and thinking deeply about content—is more important now than ever.
A goal of our workshop is to make sure that participants are actively engaged in deep learning. We plan to begin the workshop by posing four questions that we have asked so many educators over the years:
How many of you have ever passed a test, but forgotten what you had learned as soon as the test was over?
How many of you have ever read an article and then couldn’t explain what you had read?
How many of you have gotten an A in a class but had little to no idea of what you had actually learned?
How many of you have been asked to apply what you learned, but didn’t even know how to start?
Whenever we ask these questions, many hands go up. The reason is that we have all experienced shallow learning. Shallow learning is the kind of learning that doesn’t stick, and it’s a symptom of the content-coverage model that predominates in too many classrooms. We can teach faster than students can learn. The goal is not to get the content out. The goal is for students to make meaning of the content so that they understand it and can apply it. Anything else is fool’s gold. It may sparkle for a bit, but it doesn’t have any real value.
On the other hand, we work with many schools who have made the commitment to deep learning and know how much of a difference it makes. That’s why Jay and I are so excited to share the skills and tools from our book, Teaching for Deeper Learning, in our preconference session in Chicago this weekend. We know that integrating deeper-learning skills into your curriculum will promote active learning and deep understanding. We also know that the deeper-learning tools we’ll be sharing make it easy for teachers to integrate these skills into the lessons and units they’re already teaching.
Well, looks like my plane is about to board—I hope to see you in Chicago!
But more important I hope you are inspired to make learning deep for all your students.
Harvey Silver is the co-founder and president of Silver Strong & Associates and Thoughtful Education Press. To contact Harvey email him at TrHarvey@thoughtfulclassroom.
UPDATE: We’re back from an amazing conference after meeting and working with so many creative and dedicated education Chicago at ASCD’s Annual Conference. My sessions with Jay McTighe on Teaching for Deeper Learning and with Margaret Searle on Reading for Understanding were energizing and thought-provoking. Looking forward to hearing from attendees on their successes and progress, and already excited for next year!
Harvey Silver presents on Teaching for Deeper Learning at ASCD’s Annual Conference March 18, 2022 in Chicago
Margaret Searle presents on Reading for Understanding at ASCD’s Annual Conference March 18, 2022 in Chicago
Harvey Silver and Jay McTighe autograph their book, Teaching for Deeper Learning at ASCD’s Annual Conference March 18, 2022 in Chicago