In recent years there has been a movement among Christian schools in Canada and the U.S. towards Deeper Learning, led by a core group of educators, who have gathered from time to time for mutual growth, encouragement, and further networking. In this blog post I would like to clarify terminology and share the efforts of various groups as well as invite you to an upcoming event where you can connect and learn more.
What is meant by the words Deeper Learning?
Deeper Learning is an umbrella term, first employed by the Hewlett Foundation, which gathered together various groups engaged in student engaged learning. I think the term Deeper Learning in a Christian school context means that not only are we engaging students deeply in an academic sense, but also that we are encouraging depth in all aspects of their life, in particular spiritual formation and response in grateful service.
How can I learn more about what has been happening in Christian schools?
If you have not been a regular reader of CACE then I would like to suggest the following posts as a way of catching up or reading posts you may have missed along the way! I have gathered them all in one spot so you can get a clearer picture of what has been emerging.
- Our Quest for Congruence – Part 2 – March 9, 2015 – in this post I discuss why this is an exciting move for Christian education and list organizations working in this realm.
- Connecting Christian Education, CSI History, and Deeper Learning – April 7, 2015 – does this type of educational approach align with philosophies of Christian education? How has it emerged from the biblical metanarrative of creation, fall, redemption, restoration, and how does it connect to helping students truly flourish?
- Learning More About Deeper Learning – May 21, 2015 – this post goes deeper into understanding the current Deeper Learning network of public schools and suggests PD opportunities within Christian school networks as well as helpful books to read.
- You are Invited to a Deeper Learning Conversation – September 29, 2015 – was a gathering in Chicago by CACE in November 2015 of Christian educators across North America and The Case for Joy – December 2015 was a reflection on that event and a summary report was given here – Our Deeper Learning Conversation Update –February 9, 2016.
- Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era – November 3, 2015 – discusses Most Likely to Succeed – a review of a book that does a great job of offering a synthesis of the current state of change in the field of education.
- A Canadian Rocky Mountain High – November 2016 – discusses the Deeper Learning pre-conference event which gathered leaders together at the Christian Schools Canada conference in Banff, Alberta.
- I also suggest that you read the posts written by CACE Fellow Steven Levy to gain a closer feel for how Deeper Learning plays out in the classroom setting:
- Honoring the Treasures They Bring – August 2016
- Looking Under the Label: A Journey in Deeper Thinking – September 14, 2016
- Real Work for a Real Audience – October 13, 2016
- Why Teach Math? – November 16, 2016
- Opportunity Costs of the Common Core, or Any System of High Stakes Test Accountability – January 5, 2017
- Where Do the Subjects Come From? – February 2, 2017
- Are Your Students Crew or Passengers? – April 12, 2017
- Deeper Understanding Through Art: The ‘Word’ in ‘Flesh’ – May 8, 2017
- Celebrate Learning! – June 6, 2017
- CACE has been supportive of all Deeper Learning efforts in all Christian schools in recent years in many different ways. Recently CACE announced that it has the opportunity to partner with The Prairie Center to offer TfT (Teaching for Transformation) to schools – an exciting development for US schools. While CACE will offer professional development to US schools via TfT, it will continue to advance Deeper Learning in Christian education across North America and will continue to seek ways to encourage and network Christian educators engaged in Deeper Learning.
- And finally – please save the date for our next Deeper Learning event! January 11 and 12, 2018 in Gainesville, Florida will be the time and place to gather for a practitioner focused event. We look forward to seeing you in the home of Gator Nation!
Dan Beerens is an educational consultant, author, international speaker, and educational leader. Before starting Dan Beerens Consulting in May 2010, he served as Vice President of Learning Services and Director of Instructional Improvement at Christian Schools International. Prior to that, he was the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Holland Christian Schools. Dan has also worked as teacher and principal in urban and suburban public and Christian schools in Wisconsin and Illinois. He serves as a Senior Fellow at CACE (Center for the Advancement of Christian Education), represents Curriculum Trak sales and professional development and serves as co-chair of the annual Christian Deeper Learning conference. He blogs regularly for CACE and is the author of Evaluating Teachers for Professional Growth: Creating a Culture of Motivation and Learning (Corwin Press) and co-editor of the recent book MindShift: Catalyzing Change in Christian Education (ACSI).