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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Powerful Learning: What We Know About Teaching for Understanding

Powerful Learning: What We Know About Teaching for Understanding
By Linda Darling-Hammond, Brigid Barron, P. David Pearson, Alan H. Schoenfeld, Elizabeth K., Stage, Timothy D. Zimmerman, Gina N. Cervetti and Jennifer L. Tilson.
Published with support from The George Lucas Educational Foundation.

Powerful Learning is a comprehensive and engaging record of the most effective K–12 teaching practices—including project-based learning, cooperative learning, performance-based assessment, as well as instructional strategies in literacy, mathematics, and science.
The authors explore the ways in which these models generate meaningful student understanding through rich classroom stories and correlating online videos of innovative teaching (located at
This book offers insights into how educators can enable students to think critically, transfer skills and knowledge, and be flexible problem solvers, both inside and outside the classroom walls.

Related Stories
Powerful Learning: Studies Show Deep Understanding Derives from Collaborative Methods
By Brigid Barron and Linda Darling-Hammond

Cooperative learning and inquiry-based teaching yield big dividends in the classroom. And now we have the research to prove it.
A growing body of research demonstrates that students learn more deeply if they have engaged in activities that require applying classroom-gathered knowledge to real-world problems. Like the old adage states, "Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand."
Research shows that such inquiry-based teaching is not so much about seeking the right answer but about developing inquiring minds, and it can yield significant benefits. For example, in the 1995 School Restructuring Study, conducted at the Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools by Fred Newmann and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, 2,128 students in twenty-three schools were found to have significantly higher achievement on challenging tasks when they were taught with inquiry-based teaching, showing that involvement leads to understanding.
These practices were found to have a more significant impact on student performance than any other variable, including student background and prior achievement.
Similarly, studies also show the widespread benefits of cooperative learning, in which small teams of students use a variety of activities to more deeply understand a subject.
Each member is responsible not only for learning what is taught but also for helping his or her teammates learn, so the group become a supportive learning environment, continues Edutopia.

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Source: Edutopia