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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Winner of the Grawemeyer Award

“In their brave search for depth in American high schools, scholars Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine suffered many disappointments…Undeterred, they spent 750 hours observing classes, interviewed more than 300 people, and produced the best book on high school dynamics I have ever read.”
—Jay Mathews, Washington Post

“A hopeful, easy-to-read narrative on what the best teachers do and what deep, engaging learning looks like for students. Grab this text if you’re looking for a celebration of what’s possible in American schools.”

“This is the first and only book to depict not just the constraints on good teaching, but also how good teachers transcend them. A superb book in every way: timely, lively, and entertaining.”
—Jonathan Zimmerman, University of Pennsylvania

What would it take to transform our high schools into places capable of supporting deep learning for students across a wide range of aptitudes and interests? To find out, Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine spent hundreds of hours observing and talking to teachers and students in and out of the classroom at thirty of the country’s most innovative schools. To their dismay, they discovered that deeper learning is more often the exception than the rule. And yet they found pockets of powerful learning at almost every school, often in extracurriculars but also in a few mold-breaking academic courses. So what must schools do to achieve the integrations that support deep learning: rigor with joy, precision with play, mastery with identity and creativity?

In Search of Deeper Learning takes a deep dive into the state of our schools and lays out an inspiring new vision for American education.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674248250
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 08/04/2020
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 532,907
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.50(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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