1/29 Week End Update

Ground shaking changes in education


In the past few months, there have have been two seminal and prescient papers published about major shifts in education. The first came out in the fall, written by a group of education deans from the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins among other places, called "The Science of Learning." The second, called "Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good Through College Admissions" and presented last week, is based primarily on work done at the Harvard GSE but is co-authored and endorsed by college presidents and admission deans from a host of universities.

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Our hope is that with a few more free minutes of time than usual this weekend you will take the time to read these pieces, or at least familiarize yourself with the ideas from them.

"The Science of Learning," Deans for Impact

"The purpose of 'The Science of Learning' is to summarize the existing research from cognitive science related to how students learn, and connect this research to its practical implications for teaching and learning. This document is intended to serve as a resource [for] anyone in the education profession who is interested in our best scientific understanding of how learning takes place."

Although it sounds like a Political Action Committee, "Deans for Impact is a national nonprofit organization representing leaders in educator preparation who are committed to transforming educator preparation and elevating the teaching profession. Our Guiding Principles:

Data Informed

Outcomes Focused

Empirically Tested

Transparent and Accountable

"'The Science of Learning' identifies six key questions about learning that should be relevant to nearly every educator:

1. How do students understand new ideas?

2. How do students learn and retain new information?

3. How do students solve problems?

4. How does learning transfer to new situations?

5. What motivates students to learn?

6. What are some common misconceptions about how

students think and learn?"

Click on the highlighted link to read the entire, short piece.

Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good Through College Admissions

"In first comprehensive effort of its kind, leading colleges and universities join together to reshape the college admissions process and promote concern for others and the common good. The launch of the Turning the Tide report marks the first step in efforts of coalition to inspire concern for others in high school students, reduce achievement pressure, and create greater equity for economically diverse students

"'Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions,' represents the first time that a broad coalition of colleges and universities have joined forces in a unified effort calling for widespread change in the college admissions process. The report includes concrete recommendations to reshape the college admissions process and promote greater ethical engagement among aspiring students, reduce excessive achievement pressure, and level the playing field for economically disadvantaged students. It is the first step in a two-year campaign that seeks to substantially reshape the existing college admissions process.

The report includes concrete recommendations in three core areas:

- Promoting more meaningful contributions to others, community service and engagement with the public good.

- Assessing students’ ethical engagement and contributions to others in ways that reflect varying types of family and community contributions across race, culture and class.

- Redefining achievement in ways that both level the playing field for economically diverse students and reduce excessive achievement pressure.

Click on the highlighted link above to read the entire piece.

Other statements indicating huge shifts in policy and practice

Examples of moving education well beyond the classroom and considering what a new curriculum writ ,large might look like can be found with only minimal searching.

Here is an excerpt from part of Dartmouth's Strategic Plan, released a year ago, under the heading: WE WILL STRENGTHEN ACADEMIC RIGOR WHILE ENHANCING LEARNING OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM

"We will be investing an incremental $1 million each year in experiential learning—both to support faculty in their efforts to design and evaluate programs and to expand current efforts and seed new ideas. In allocating these funds, priority will go to areas in which Dartmouth has a strategic advantage, including outdoor programs that cultivate leadership and understanding of the self and the environment, programs that involve our outstanding professional schools, programs that take advantage of the flexibility of our academic year, and programs that encourage partnerships between students and faculty in the pursuit of making a difference in the world."

A recent internal memo from Harvard spells out the need to reconsider what we are teaching and how we are teaching it:

"These limitations in the public service landscape at Harvard College are becoming more and more apparent due to the engaged campus movement in higher education. A growing body of literature argues that a world in which knowledge is contained in the academy is coming to an abrupt end due to rapid technological advances such as online learning, and that residential learning communities must provide experiences to deepen learning and relate knowledge to real world problems in order to represent a value-added proposition in the future.”

Calendar Reminders

Tuesday, Feb.2 - Advisee dinners

Thursday, Feb.4 - Advisee dinners

Thursday, Feb.11 - Winter Formal (evening)

Friday, Feb.12 - NO CLASSES, Winter Formal Holiday

- Inside SPS Weekend

Saturday, Feb.13 - Inside SPS Weekend


Thanks to trustee Bill Laverack for some of the above statements.

We hope you all get to enjoy the added hours of peace and rest this weekend.

The CIT gang - Alisa, Kate, Kevin, Lawrence, Melissa and Nick