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Learning Orientation

Emphasize learning and understanding and de-emphasize grades, competition, and social comparison

Learning Orientation NGSS P4S4

When the teacher makes a mistake in a computation, model a response that frames the mistake as normal and a learning opportunity, rather than becoming defensive about the error.

Resource Information

Learning Orientation Principles

The strategy above is aligned to the principles in bold.

Emphasize student reasoning, sensemaking, and developing a deep understanding as the goal of activities, rather than producing the right answer or complying with instructions
  • Use assignments that are meaningful, challenging, and require students to take personal responsibility to engage at a deeper conceptual level with the material; provide students with ample time to do this work
  • Press students for evidence and reasoning to demonstrate the importance of making sense of phenomena and/or solving design problems, rather than simply producing the correct answer
  • Provide multiple ways to complete assignments and/or allow for flexibility in approaches to solving problems
  • De-emphasize the negative consequence of mistakes by framing mistakes as part of the learning process that helps students improve their skills
  • Design assessments to evaluate students’ three-dimensional learning with a focus on reasoning, making sense of phenomena and/or solving design problems, and deep conceptual knowledge rather than superficial knowledge
  • Use rubrics and descriptive criteria for assessments rather than policies such as grading on a curve to focus the assessment on students’ understanding rather than on their relative standing among peers
  • Provide positive and constructive feedback to students that emphasizes that success and failure are related to one’s effort and strategy use, which can be changed
  • Provide opportunities for students to revise work or submit multiple drafts
  • Communicate that all students have valuable contributions by calling on a variety of students in a supportive way during class discussions or activities
  • Encourage students to focus on their own effort, growth, and learning as opposed to comparing themselves to their peers
  • Avoid tasks that encourage competition among students (to solve a problem first, to earn the highest grades, etc.) and practices like posting student grades publicly
  • Design group work that requires multiple perspectives/roles to promote peer collaboration focused on learning rather than performing
Model the commitment to learning and growth that you want your students to exhibit
  • Approach course content, lesson activities, and your own learning with a positive attitude and a willingness to take risks (i.e., doing something outside of your comfort zone)
  • Identify and model the use of effective learning strategies when encountering challenging tasks or making mistakes