Deep Learning

According to Prof. John Hattie, the most significant effect on student learning is when teachers become learners of their teaching and when students become their teachers”.

Deep learning and Surface learning

Deep learning takes us from Lower-level thinking to higher-level thinking like analysis, creativity, and beyond. If the Physical education teacher knows how many kids in the primary have flat feet, it would be deep learning. Deep learning needs lower-level thinking skills too. The lower-level thinking skills lead to surface learning.

Surface Question – Explain how wind affects the rate of transpiration?

Answer: Wind increases transpiration rate by blowing away the humid air from around the leaf so that more water can be lost from the leaf.

Profound Question – Why do wet clothes on the washing line dry faster on a warm, windy day?

Answer: On a warm, windy day, the rate of Evaporation will be high because the humid air around the clothes get blown away, so more evaporation happens on a hot day.

Questions like what if…. Why…? It can help to delve deeper.

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Skills of Deep Learning

Core Skill-1-Critical Thinking and Problem-solving

Teachers have to plan questions based on higher-order thinking skills, which result in deep learning, and higher-order thinking skills can be developed through open-ended questions.  Such open-ended questions can be asked during the lesson’s introduction, during the class and even at the study’s conclusion.

Core Skill-2-Creativity and Imagination

Core Skill-3-Communication and collaboration

Communicating orally and in written form and non-verbal communication leads to innovative ideas and solutions.

Core Skill-4-Citizenship

Citizenship has been identified as a deep learning core skill that will enable our students to participate on the international stage, just as today’s climate of interconnectivity demands.

Core Skill-5-Digital Literacy

Digital literacy invokes the other core skills to varying extents depending on the type of activity and choice of technology. For digital technology to contribute to deep learning, it must be transformational rather than transactional; that affects the shift from digital technology to being digitally literate.

 Skills and tools used in digital literacy

  • Functional skills-Ms word, Ms excel, Ms PowerPoint etc.
  • Critical thinking and evaluation-Internet
  • Cultural and social understanding-twitter-blogs, discussion forums etc
  • Collaboration-Internet –
  • Effective communication-Skype, Whatsapp, Email Chat JPTetc.
  • Core Skills – Student leadership and Personal Development
  • Teacher leaders assume a wide range of roles to support school and students success. Whether these roles are assigned formally or shared informally, they build the entire school’s improvement capacity. Because teachers can lead in various ways, many teachers can serve as leaders among their peers.

Strategies for Deep Learning

  1. Connect: Create a community of learners

The most significant effect on learning happens when the teachers and the students swap roles. The flipped class could be an example.

  1. Empower: Activate students to lead their own learning

Active and meaningful educational experiences are critical in helping students reach Deeper Learning goals. Teachers need to provide that ‘hands-on experience’.  E.g. A “mock election” representative of the electoral process or generating electricity by building wind turbines can lead to deep learning. Assessments cannot be looked at as marks. There should be rubrics to tell the student where they stand.

  1. Contextualize

Subjects are not to be taught in isolation. The knowledge becomes more meaningful and holistic when learning is connected to themes, concepts, and multiple issues.

  1. Beyond school walls

The mobile museum in Mumbai works on a theme every year and visits the school free of cost. Invite it to school. Plan field trips for children. In other words, the integrated approach lends itself to the study of surface vs deep learning.  The integrated system is addressed in detail under Chapter 4 under holistic education.

  1. Judicious use of technology

Interactive boards have made inroads into the classroom. However,  they are used generally to teach. For digital technology to contribute to deep learning, it must be transformational rather than transactional. However, the flip side of the epidemic is that every teacher has become tech-savvy and can use technology to support teaching.

In the next issue let’s discuss Surface reading!

Published by Dr. Pramila Kudva

I am a teacher educator currently worrking as a Principal of a reputed school in North Mumbai, have more than 30 years of experience, with several publications to my credit and have authored a book -"From chalk to Talk The Art of Teaching.

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