The debate among global education leaders about how to transform
education has taken a sharp right turn. A new report, "A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find
Deep Learning," released by education
visionary Michael Fullan, provides educators with solutions for how to change
pedagogies to foster deep learning.
Published by Pearson in partnership with ISTE, MaRS Discovery District and Nesta, this visionary report reflects on the impact technology
has had on the way we learn. In the paper, the authors suggest a new education
model that prepares learners to succeed in today's knowledge-based economy.
Fullan and his co-author
Maria Langworthy urge educators to aim the metamorphosing system toward deeper
learning outcomes — in other words, moving students past mastery of existing
content to become the creators and users of new knowledge. Three forces are
needed to drive change toward this new level of deep
New pedagogies that emphasize the natural learning process
Technology plays a pivotal role in creating deeper learning
opportunities for students, but it's not enough to simply add expensive tools to
the traditional curriculum. We need pedagogies that tap into students' core
motivations and deeply engage them in exploring, problem solving,
collaboration and creation.
Teaching, the report argues, must shift from its current focus on
covering required content to focus on the learning process itself. Teachers then
become partners in developing students' ability to lead their own learning
"Everyone becomes a teacher in the new pedagogies, and everyone
becomes a learner," the report explains. "Ultimately, these pedagogies foster a
new kind of learning that is more engaging and more connected to real
New change leadership that allows for rapid, organic change
To allow these new pedagogies to spread and take root, the report
advocates for a new leadership model based on the idea of inherent change — one
that taps into "the human need to do things that are intrinsically meaningful,
and to achieve outcomes that are of value to
This new change leadership model requires leaders who will pave the
way for deeper learning, not only by removing obstacles but by creating
conditions that ignite students' and teachers' potential and help propel them
forward. These leaders will "become storytellers, nourishing determination as
students strive to build their learning capacities and teachers push to build
their pedagogical capacities."
Effective change leaders will:
- Encourage risk
- Measure progress in new ways
- Acknowledge mistakes and drive collaborative
reflection to learn from what isn't working
- Stop doing things that don't support the new
New system economics that deliver high-yield outcomes
When educators implement new deeper learning pedagogies, they
notice dramatic breakthroughs in learning outcomes — potentially delivering
twice the learning for the same levels of investment, the authors argue. But
economic and policy realignments are needed.
"Ultimately, the new pedagogies deliver because they provide
greater overall value for societies' investment in education," the report
states. "They develop the learning capacities, creative experiences and know-how
our young people need to gain a solid foothold in the onward trek through life
and work in today's world."
our way forward
How do we reach this vision of an education system centered on deep
learning? The report recommends the following ways students, teachers and policy
makers can help usher in the change.
- Students can define their
own learning goals and push their teachers to become learning partners.
- Teachers can adopt a
mindset of learning from and with their students.
makers can reduce negative accountability in favor of pedagogies
and assessments linked to deep learning.
Exciting changes are happening in many classrooms around the world,
but the pedagogical shifts leading these changes are largely undocumented. To
this end, the authors of the report are embarking on a new global initiative
— New Pedagogies for Deep
Learning — to document changes in
pedagogies that foster deep learning.
We'll all be watching closely as these new learning strategies are
do you think of the ideas in this report? Share your thoughts in the comments
below, or follow the conversation on Twitter via #richseam.