In Search of Deeper Learning: The Quest to Remake the American High School

In Search of Deeper Learning: The Quest to Remake the American High School

by Jal Mehta, Sarah Fine

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“The best book on high school dynamics I have ever read.”—Jay Mathews, Washington Post

An award-winning professor and an accomplished educator take us beyond the hype of reform and inside some of America’s most innovative classrooms to show what is working—and what isn’t—in our schools.

What would it take to transform industrial-era schools into modern organizations capable of supporting deep learning for all? Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine’s quest to answer this question took them inside some of America’s most innovative schools and classrooms—places where educators are rethinking both what and how students should learn.

The story they tell is alternately discouraging and hopeful. Drawing on hundreds of hours of observations and interviews at thirty different schools, Mehta and Fine reveal that deeper learning is more often the exception than the rule. And yet they find pockets of powerful learning at almost every school, often in electives and extracurriculars as well as in a few mold-breaking academic courses. These spaces achieve depth, the authors argue, because they emphasize purpose and choice, cultivate community, and draw on powerful traditions of apprenticeship. These outliers suggest that it is difficult but possible for schools and classrooms to achieve the integrations that support deep learning: rigor with joy, precision with play, mastery with identity and creativity.

This boldly humanistic book offers a rich account of what education can be. The first panoramic study of American public high schools since the 1980s, In Search of Deeper Learning lays out a new vision for American education—one that will set the agenda for schools of the future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674988392
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 04/09/2019
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 389,426
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Jal Mehta is Associate Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a recipient of the Morningstar Award. He is author of The Allure of Order: High Hopes, Dashed Expectations, and the Troubled Quest to Remake American Schooling.

Sarah Fine is a faculty member at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education and a Lecturer in Education Studies at the University of California, San Diego. She has taught in Washington, D.C., and Chula Vista, California.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 The State of Deeper Learning in American High Schools 10

2 The Progressive Frontier: Project-Based Learning 45

3 No Excuses Schools: Benefits and Tradeoffs 98

4 International Baccalaureate: A System for Deeper Learning? 157

5 The Comprehensive High School: Performance versus Learning 196

6 Deeper Learning at the Margins: Why the Periphery Is More Vital than the Core 252

7 Deeper Teaching: Rigor, Joy, and Apprenticeship 308

8 Mastery, Identity, Creativity, and the Future of Schooling 362

Appendix: Methodology 403

Notes 415

Acknowledgments 441

Index 447

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