By Anthony Furman, Daisy Crus, Jaina Pfister, 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:

  • having a vision.
  • decision making.
  • new concepts.
Learning occurs best when:
  • people collaborate.
  • people are comfortable.
  • through feedback.

How do you define learning? 

Anthony Furman (Teacher):  I believe students are truly learning when their approach or vision about school is not just as a “grade” but as a stepping stone and source of preparation for their futures. There is a natural progression of this as students mature and move through each year, but there are so many ways for students to develop, enhance and catapult this progression as they make decisions for their future.  Our guidance, teaching, reflection, and challenging of students can put them in a position to recognize and embrace this opportunity.  It is not something that is done alone.

Daisy Cruz (Student):  Learning means adding more knowledge to what you already know.

Jaina Pfister (Student):  I define learning as understanding new concepts and adding new information to your brain.

How do you believe people learn best?

Anthony Furman (Teacher): I truly believe that students learn best when they recognize that we are all in this together as one team.  Students need to know that they can be themselves especially as they begin recognizing who they really are and what they believe in.  Within this comfort and recognition lies a place with unlimited opportunities for learning, support and involvement.

Daisy Cruz (Student):  People learn best by observing and listening to the feedback you get so you can improve.

Jaina Pfister (Student): I believe people learn best by working hands on. Throwing yourself into a situation that may put you out of your comfort zone is the best way to really learn.

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