Anything we do with kids, it is our mission to embed it in authentic learning. We want these experiences to mirror what they will do in real life. We don’t write to a prompt, we don’t read for other people’s interests, we don’t solve problems in isolation. Instead, we write to get our work out into the world, we read to fuel our curiosity or meet our own internal needs. We often share what we read, because in the real world reading is usually a social endeavor. When we solve problems they are typically connected to some sort of real life difficulty. Usually we don’t even solve them all on our own, we collaborate to gain more insights and perspective.
The problem with school is that sometimes if we’re not careful we forget reality when it comes to learning. We try to teach sophisticated thinking without the benefit of meaning making or lived experience. Deep learning stems from authenticity, and requires some practical or social benefit to the learner. They can’t learn deeply just because they want to please us. We’ve said this in prior posts (and our blog isn’t even that long yet) but it’s not about us, it’s about them. So how do you get to authentic deep learning? It’s all around you. It’s waiting in the library, when your typing an email, when you are walking down the hallway to lunch. Children are attempting to make meaning all day long and they want to share it with you. There are teachable moments everywhere you look, we just need to keep our minds open.