By Alexander Danan, Margi Patel, Ryan Libiano and Mark Heintz

This is part of a blog series intended to document and define learning at Elk Grove High School throughout the 2018-2019 school year in order to increase student learning, give professionals autonomy, increase trust in our learning community, and foster a sense of personal-intellectual collegiality within the building across departments. You can read all of the previous posts here. I am going into each teacher’s class four times and then they are reflecting along their students on the learning that took place and what they hope for.
In this second visit, I asked the teacher and the student two questions: how do they define learning? Under what conditions do people learn best?  In an attempt to have all stakeholders have a similar definition of learning, the teacher and the students answered them, publish them, and then have conversations surrounding their beliefs on learning. This is what they came up with:
Learning is…
  • personal. 

  • not just obtaining new knowledge.

  • not easy.

  • rebuilding after failure.

People learn best when…
  • they are actively doing the work.

  • they learn from their mistakes.

  • you are interested in something.

  • want to learn.

How do you define learning? 
Patrick McGing (teacher): Personal growth through a change or development. Learning is not just obtaining new knowledge but must also be a continual development and challenge of that knowledge. The knowledge must continually grow and impact the individual and their experiences.  
Alex Danan (student): Learning to me is when you take a topic that you have an interest in and get to know something new about it. Also, learning can’t be easy. Learning has to have a struggle or mistake in the process, so if you make a mistake then learn from it and do better the next time.


Margi Patel (student): I define learning by accepting my mistakes, trying, understanding the concepts, experience, being taught, knowledge, and learning from the results. 
Ryan Libiano (student): Learning through failure and accepting faults, if this could be achieved then the ability for one to rebuild themselves and improve will ultimately help accelerate future success and open up new opportunities.
How do you believe people learn best?
Patrick McGing (teacher): Doing, failing, adjusting, doing, failing, adjusting, doing. 
I don’t mean repetition and drill is the way to learn, rather people must recognize failure and develop adjustments to change the process. Personal growth through a change or development. 
Alex Danan (student): In my opinion, I believe that people learn best by getting taught or researching what they to. If the mistake is in the process of doing a project that they want to do then they can do better the next time or they can learn from their mistakes.
Margi Patel (student): People learn best when they learn from their mistakes and don’t do the same mistakes again. Also when they don’t give up in tough situations. 
Ryan Libiano (student): As mentioned before, people learn the best when they accept their faults and build themselves through failure and proper guidance.


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