Friday, July 19, 2013

Principles of Engaged Learning

By Sam Piha


Sam Piha
"Engaged Learning" is a phrase that we have been hearing a lot about. It is often cited by educational researchers and leaders of school reform as a critical feature needed to retain students. More recently, we've heard the term used when describing quality afterschool and summer programs. It is a key element in quality expanded learning programs as cited on the C.S. Mott Expanded Learning & Afterschool website, and the expanded learning model promoted by the Afterschool Alliance. 

The Learning in Afterschool & Summer (LIAS) project, based in California, worked to bring clear definition to "engaged learning" by detailing five critical features of afterschool learning environments. The five LIAS learning principles state that learning must be:

  • Active
  • Collaborative
  • Meaningful
  • Support Mastery
  • Expand the Horizons of Participants

The LIAS principles have been readily embraced by the California Department of Education (CDE) as key to understanding quality programming and they stand at the core of state program quality standards recommendations that are currently being considered by the CDE. They have also been cited by important field reports and tools on STEM programming and other field topics. 

We will use this blog space to explore these five critical learning principles. We will also provide videos and other resources to help program leaders better understand these principles and how to integrate them into the design and implementation of afterschool and summer programs. The video below features  comments by Tom Torlakson, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the California Department of Education; Deborah Vandell, Professor of Education and Psychology and Dean of the School of Education at UC Irvine; Andi Fletcher, Afterschool and Educational Consultant for the Center for Collaborative Solutions; Carol Tang, Director of The Coalition for Science After School; Jennifer Peck, Executive Director of Partnership for Children and Youth; Pedro Noguera, Professor of Education at NYU; Paul Heckman, Associate Dean and Professor at UC Davis; Steve Amick, Director of School District Partnerships at THINK Together; and many more!


Below are some quotes from educational and afterschool leaders regarding the five LIAS learning principles.


Bernie Trilling

The five Learning in Afterschool & Summer principles are perfectly aligned with a 21st century learning approach – active, meaningful, collaborative learning projects that provide opportunities to expand one’s horizons and master important knowledge and skills – this is the heart of 21st century learning.” 
- Bernie Trilling, Global Director, Oracle Education Foundation, Co-Author, 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times


Lucy Friedman

The LIAS principles make concrete the kind of learning that can and should happen beyond traditional school hours: active, collaborative learning that prepares kids for careers we can’t even imagine.”  
- Lucy Friedman, Founding President, The After School Corporation




Pedro Noguera

“I use the LIAS principles because I felt they captured many of the core elements that a successful afterschool program should have.  Actually, those principles should be reflected in classrooms during the regular school day as well.  We spend so much time focused on "achievement" and so little time focused on how to motivate students to learn. The principles advocated by Learning in Afterschool & Summer strike the right balance and make sense. The principles contained in Learning in Afterschool promote such an approach, and if applied with fidelity, could lead to real improvements in educational outcomes for kids.” 
- Pedro Noguera, Executive Director, Metropolitan Center for Urban Education, Department of Education, New York University 




Tony Smith

“I think the Learning in Afterschool & Summer guiding principles are essential. I think it is so important to have a set of core ideas that you can work around. The guiding principles and the way they’ve been compiled by the LIAS project are really important. Obviously, the work of being in relationships with people, working deeply on stuff – stuff that you care about - that matters. The thing that is fundamentally important to me is expanding horizons - the opportunity for young people to see possible futures. Sometimes young people don’t have folks around them to help them understand what’s possible for them.” 
- Tony Smith, former Superintendent, Oakland Unified School District



No comments:

Post a Comment