Monday, May 4, 2009

Making Learning Whole by David Perkins

In his latest book Making Learning Whole: How Seven Principles of Teaching Can Transform Education, David Perkins presents an alternative to the superficiality and fragmentation inherent in so much of today's teaching and learning. Perkins, who is co-director of Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, diagnoses today's education as suffering from "elementitis" (learning all the elements of a subject without learning the whole) and "aboutitis" (learning about a subject without doing it). He presents his seven principles by connecting them to the way countless kids become skilled to some degree in the game of baseball.

Here is the complete list of principles is:
  1. Play the whole game.
  2. Make the game worth playing.
  3. Work on the hard parts.
  4. Play out of town.
  5. Uncover the hidden game.
  6. Learn from the team . . . and other teams.
  7. Learn the game of learning.
"Play the whole game" is the first of the seven principles —and it's the overarching one. Perkins says playing a "junior version" of the whole game, often involving some type of inquiry or performance that crosses disciplines, is what promotes the kind of understanding that students will be able to apply in a range of contexts.

"Make the game worth playing" is ensuring "immediately meaningful active engagement.

"Work on the hard parts" is isolating and practicing skills and focusing on conceptually difficult knowledge (but integrating them as quickly as possible into the whole).

"Play out of town" is promoting transfer by encouraging reflective abstraction and simulating diverse applications of knowledge and skill, as well as making connections to prior knowledge.

"Uncover the hidden game" is paying attention to the processes of inquiry, thinking and problem-solving that are beneath the surface of student work.

"Learn from the team" is paying attention to the sociocultural context through various group learning strategies.

"Learn the game of learning" is promoting self-direction.

1 comment:

SaraO said...

This book sounds very interesting. I have always thought that there were holes in my schooling, growing up.

I'm reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. I think you would enjoy it.

I look forward to reading your blog on a regular basis. Pop on over to by blog, Buttons & Rainbows, anytime.