At our first Christian Deeper Learning conference at The Rock School in Gainesville, FL, we created a chart highlighting the difference between a traditional classroom and a deeper learning classroom. We posted our initial draft on poster paper at the conference and invited participants to comment or add ideas to the chart. Teachers had a lot of questions (they still do) about what CDL is, and we wanted to add some examples to our conceptual framing of what we were trying to accomplish.
We don’t mean to suggest that there are not outstanding Christian educators in more traditional settings and that many teachers in traditional settings don’t use some of the practices listed in the deeper learning column. Rather, we want to highlight some of the systems and practices that many teachers in the CDL network are experimenting with in their classrooms to promote student engagement, ownership and care about the work they do in school.
We have organized them into the categories used in our CDL conferences: Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, Culture, and Spiritual Formation. We begin with Curriculum and post charts in the other areas each week.
There is a fundamental shift in how CDL teachers see their role as related to Curriculum. They see themselves as designers of learning experiences rather than transmitters of commercially published curriculum. They look for real opportunities in their local setting to teach content and skills in the context of serving their community. They use textbooks and other commercial material as resources rather than as the content of their studies. See the chart below for some other features of curriculum in the Christian Deeper Learning classroom.
What should we teach? How does our school mission come alive through our curriculum choices? How do we teach content and skills in the context of doing real work that meets the genuine needs of the people God loves? How do we support students in discovering truth and gaining knowledge through God’s Word and His Creation? What does “work” look like in a CDL classroom?
If you are interested in experiencing this kind of teaching and learning, join us at our summer institute! We still have space available.