Wednesday, March 27, 2013

LIAS and Recent Trends in Education and OST (Part 1)

By Sam Piha

Sam Piha
There are several new trends or movements as stakeholders look to improve the quality of formal education and learning outside of the classroom. They include the topics of school reform, Common Core Standards, extended learning opportunities, program quality measurement, STEM, 21st century learning skills, and social-emotional learning (SEL). We will use the next two blog posts to briefly name and describe these important trends and on the relevance of the LIAS learning principles according to leaders in each of these movements: 

Pedro Noguera
SCHOOL REFORM: Beyond the discussions of how to change the structural elements of school, nearly everyone is talking about making learning more engaging. The LIAS learning principles serves as a clear guide on how to change our teaching methods to greatly increase the motivation and interest of young people involved in learning activities.

 “If you don't find a way to make learning matter to students then much of what the adults are trying to do in school reform, will fail.” – Pedro Noguera, NYU

COMMON CORE STANDARDS: The Common Core Standards were developed by the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. They have been adopted by 46 states, and focus on “fewer standards at a deeper level than do many of the models used in the past. The standards also emphasize higher order thinking skills; that is, they focus more on demonstrating understanding of content and analyzing written materials rather than on memorizing specific content.” Many of those working to draw a link between learning outside of the classroom point to the Habits of Mind, which focus on “knowledge, skills, and dispositions that operate in tandem with the academic content in the standards… and offer a portrait of students who, upon graduation, are prepared for college, career, and citizenship.”  

Deborah Vandell
According to Deborah Vandell, Founding Dean of the School of Education at UC Irvine, “Much of the school day is really spent in learning a set of material, so we’re going to need to get away from that.  Now part of the Common Core Standards is really pointing in this direction, of problem based learning, working in teams, a more sequential and deeper learning. I think that afterschool programs and summer learning, are about the same things, and I think we are going to be able to help schools see some new ways of learning.”

Elizabeth Devaney
“I think the LIAS principles are complementary, if not completely aligned with the Common Core. They represent the kind of teaching that will be necessary in order for students to achieve the Common Core. The main difference is that the LIAS principles really address the how of teaching and the Common Core is more focused on the what. But absolutely, teachers will need to shift their instruction to more closely match the LIAS principles in order for students to develop habits of mind and master the content standards.” - Elizabeth Devaney, Forum for Youth Investment

EXTENDED LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES (ELO): There is a growing call for schools to offer or link to extended learning opportunities for young people. For some, this movement represents lengthening the school day and increasing time on task or seat time. We join the many others who believe that we must be creative and flexible in our teaching methods in order to increase engagement and draw on community organizations and resources outside of school to fulfill any promise of ELO. 

Jennifer Davis
“A whole-school re-design, built upon a platform of expanded time, enables educators the opportunity to introduce fresh methods of teaching and learning. We are seeing many examples of hands on learning, deeper science experimentation, mastery around music and the arts across a number of expanded-time schools which align very well with the LIAS vision.” - Jennifer Davis, Co-Founder and President, The National Center on Time & Learning

Jennifer Peck
“The Learning in Afterschool & Summer effort is perfectly aligned and perfectly timed with the federal policy conversation around extended learning.  The LIAS principles and language support the very critical task of helping decision makers at all levels understand that after school programs are a place of learning, are worthy of continued and strengthened investments, and can be the foundation for new and innovative models of teaching and learning.” – Jennifer Peck, Partnership for Children and Youth

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