By Melissa Curtis, Devin Peterson, Paige Hermann, 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:

  • lifelong.
  • not memorizing.
  • not random facts.

Learning occurs best when people are:

  • experiencing.
  • excited.
  • wanting to learn.

How do you define learning?

Melissa Curtis (Teacher): Students being able to discuss a topic intelligently with each other and defending their thoughts, applying the concepts we learn in class to a real-life example, students generating thoughtful questions, proving their knowledge on summative assessments.

Devin Peterson (Student): Being able to process new information and then applying the information.

Paige Hermann (Student): I define learning as processing new information and being able to understand it.

How do you believe people learn best?

Melissa Curtis (Teacher): Multiple exposures to the material (in-class, on their own, review), testing yourself, discussing the material with others, applying the content to your own life, spacing out the studying over several days instead of cramming.

Devin Peterson (Student):  I believe people learn the best when there is a positive environment and there is some type of reward or punishment when learning and applying what was learned

Paige Hermann (Student):  I believe people learn best when they actually see it and they can see how it’s done.

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