Putting the science of learning and development into action
“Imagine a world in which the life of each child is a succession of positive opportunities for development – opportunities through which a child can learn to know who he is and discover the wide range of possibilities for what he can become. . Imagine different types of learning settings in which these types of opportunities are also intentionally constructed and leveraged, regardless of where a child lives or attends school. Also imagine that educators could identify the talents, interests and aspirations of each child and align them with learning opportunities designed to promote them and build on them to create new skills.
-A new purpose for education, design principles for schools
A new book offers a blueprint for primary and secondary education. Design Principles for Schools: Putting the Science of Learning and Development into Action was published by The Learning Policy Institute and Turnaround for Children in partnership with the Forum for Youth Investment and in association with the SoLD Alliance.
The education system we have inherited has evolved over time – it was not designed for equitable development of the whole child. The pandemic, the recession, the impact of the climate crisis and racial violence have exposed the inequalities of experience and opportunity for many young people. Design principles for schools describes the opportunity to intentionally shape experiences and environments for equity.
The book describes the opportunity we have today: “Developmental and learning science tells an optimistic story of what all young people are capable of. “We have the opportunity to” design a system in which all people are able to take advantage of high quality opportunities for transformative learning and development. “
The five design principles include:
- Positive developmental relationships
- Environments filled with security and belonging
- Rich learning experiences and knowledge development
- Development of skills, habits and mentalities
- Integrated support systems
The Design Principles do not suggest a single learning model, but suggest a very different set of experiences and environments for most learners. The redesign around the design principles creates conditions that “support the talents and agency of each child; respect the culture and assets of the community; and create personalized growth opportunities.
The overhaul requires a commitment to equity and sustained development relationships. The book includes a number of case studies and resources that support each of the design principles.
New learning objectives in six areas
The Design Principles aim to advance an updated set of goals for youth learning and development. Organized into six areas identified by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the set of child development goals are guided by a number of respected results frameworks.
- Cognitive development: Learners can think critically and creatively to solve complex problems.
- Academic development: Learners deeply understand the content and can apply their knowledge beyond the classroom.
- Social and emotional development: Learners are self-aware and engage meaningfully with others.
- Identity development: Learners have a positive sense of identity, potential, purpose and direction.
- Physical and mental well-being: Learners make healthy lifestyle choices.
- Ethical and moral development: Learners are empathetic, ethical and proactive in their contribution to the well-being of their communities.
The objectives are global, transversal and integrative. They are remarkable and unique in several ways that are important to any school system that paints a picture of a graduate or reconsiders their learning goals.
Cognitive goals focus on solving complex problems and working “toward meaningful personal and group goals with a strong sense of agency and purpose.”
The inclusion of the area of ethical and moral development emphasizes “that individual goals are linked to broader community goals and elevate the civic mission of education”.
Identity development includes a positive self-image comprising “a sense of taking action and the ability to make choices based on their values and to take an active role in their life journey”, and “the ability to take action. consider them to be of value and make a unique and fruitful contribution to their communities.
The goal of well-being includes access to healthy favorable conditions and encourages the development of healthy behavioral patterns throughout life, while perspective-taking, appreciation of diversity and constructive negotiation of outcomes. conflicts were added to social and emotional development.
The book is a must read for any educator interested in developing a comprehensive program for the child. It is comprehensive and specific on the changes that will benefit all learners.