“The product of deeper learning is transferable knowledge, including content knowledge in a domain and knowledge of how, why, and when to apply this knowledge to answer questions and solve problems.” From National Research Council 2012
To develop transferable knowledge, students need time to ask questions, be supported through active scaffolding, to practice/play with new ideas and concepts, and to attempt to transfer those new ideas toward a different context (often provided by a project). We see this happen most effectively when that cycle happens without interruption.
While deeper learning and PBL can be done in 45-50 minute periods, we find that the longer continuous blocks of time offer students a more seamless, less fragmented experience and allow for more time for application of new learning. It also affords teachers a richer, performance assessment opportunity to see how well students understand a new idea/concept/skill and to assess their ability (or not) to apply and transfer that understanding. Performance assessment, a key component of deeper learning and PBL, requires the necessary time for students to write/create/perform/build without interruption.
Not all instructional periods may need extended time each day. Schools can approach this by getting creative and intentional with the time blocks that currently exist in their system. Consider modifying your schedule to intentionally create longer or shorter periods of uninterrupted instructional time.
Keys to Success: Prioritize Collaboration • Create Structures for Inquiry and Improvement • Formative Assessment and Reflection • Inclusive Classrooms
|Shifts to Consider||Strategies||Resources|
|Create Extended Learning Blocks||
|Maximize Use of Longer Instructional Periods||
|Design Opportunities for Co-Teaching or Interdisciplinary Classes and Projects||