What should this student know and be able to do?
“In a time of drastic change [in education], it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”
When educators define planning based solely on content, they force themselves into a “coverage” mindset. Students, no matter what their level of understanding or ability to apply the content, are moved along the learning progression based on a timeline of events hoping the content is covered. When educators prioritize skills, they ask “What will students do today?”, instead of, “what will I cover today?”. The question of, “What will students do today?”, based on the analysis of formative and summative assessments, feedback and observations build active learning environments, through planning focused on students rather than timelines.
“Classrooms must move beyond being places where content is delivered and become places where students learn how to process that content.” Content is present in both cases. What matters is whether we merely “deliver” it or teach students the skills that allow them to put that content to use.”
The overall design of schools in the past was characterized by having limited information and limited access to that information with the school or teacher being the primary caretaker to that information. This is certainly not the case today. Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac has devoted a great deal of research and time crafting its curriculum to reflect priority skills students will master as they navigate learning progressions. These learning progressions balance both content and skill application ensuring students will be able to apply their learning. The school delineates between when learners need to simply recall the meaning of academic terms and when the learner needs to critique information to show a deep understanding.
“As a teacher, I can cover my curriculum. I can get to that finish line. But often when I get to that finish line and look around, I’m all by myself.”
Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac School, in line with the Educational Project of the Company of Mary and its mission, will continue to ask, “What should this student know and be able to do?”. Educators coach learners to reflect on feedback regarding skills in each curricular area and how the skills, building in rigor from year to year, will ensure their academic success in high school, college and career.
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