Published in Pacelli Perspective

May 04, 2022

Summing It All Up – Meaningful Learning is Engaged Learning

3rd in a series of 3

Students today need to become learners for life – engaged and practiced as curious, self-directed individuals.  Research tells us that young people acquire knowledge through the combination of what they encounter as learners, through curriculum, relationships, and challenges and support. It matters what they do as learners through the active commitment of themselves in producing and persevering. Finally and importantly, they should stress how they make meaning of those experiences.

            Meaningful, engaged learning includes the following features, which are practiced at Oak Hill Academy.

NJ Private School Teachers use creativity in the classroom
  • Instruction is flexible and interdisciplinary: these learning experiences ask students to combine knowledge and concepts from different disciplines to create deeper understanding and solve real problems collaboratively.
  • Learning experiences are rigorous:  meaningful, engaged learning is built on strong curriculum and pedagogical understanding.  Teachers work closely with students to ensure they are gaining foundational knowledge and skills with deep understanding through these experiences.  There should be an abundance of time set aside for students to both ask and ponder questions starting with the surface and then moving to higher levels.
  • School is structured for deeper learning: Teachers apply instructional techniques to ensure that students practice the sustained and challenging experiences required for lasting learning.
  • Student progress is regularly monitored:  Students and teachers alike have regular access to real-time data on student progress from formal and informal assessments. Teachers use this information to make modifications to ensure that students are challenged and supported.
  • Students learn about themselves as learners:  Learners must be allowed to develop confidence and to become self-motivated.  This only comes when students are at the center of the learning process.

There are myriad approaches that can help create the conditions for meaningful engaged learning.  These are some examples:

  • Student centered learning works by connecting students’ interests with the things they learn in school.  At its core, student centered learning shows what students can do when they feel fully vested and engaged in their education.
  • Project-based learning helps students tackle complex academic content while building management skills.  Working on projects is how we function in the real world – in both our personal and professional lives – and that is why project-based learning is becoming increasingly popular in education.  Projects can take many forms – tangible models – research of innovation – exploration of ideas and theories – evaluation of concepts or processes – futuristic thinking.
  • Inquiry-based learning taps into the curiosity of students by using design learning to help students learn while developing critical thinking skills.  Inquiry-based learning promotes engagement and experimentation.  Failure must be viewed as an opportunity to analyze, correct, and redo.
  • Interdisciplinary teaching and learning integrates different aspects of more than one academic discipline to examine a theme, issue, question, or topic.  Interdisciplinary learning empowers students to explore different perspectives and views.  When examining a meaningful, engaged classroom, it is clear that the students thrive in the atmosphere and there is a great deal of personal satisfaction with depth of learning and, above all, meaningful schools must have teachers and staff show that they care for every one of their students.

Once learning is established as meaningful, it will no longer be considered work to be done, but rather a satisfying way to live one’s life.

Oak Hill Academy is a NJ private school that is co-educational, independent, nonsectarian, and nonprofit for grades pre-kindergarten through eight. Oak Hill Academy is dedicated to a traditional, challenging, and caring learning environment that encourages comprehensive thought processes and deep understandings; thus promoting the wholesome intellectual, emotional, moral, and physical lifetime growth of our students. If you want to learn more about what makes Oak Hill Academy one of the best private school in NJ, visit us online at www.oakhillacademy.com , or subscribe to our mailing list to be notified when we post more topics.

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Oak Hill Academy is a Monmouth County NJ private school that is co-educational, independent, nonsectarian, and nonprofit for grades per-kindergarten through eight.

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