Learning Cultures® is a comprehensive school development program that emphasizes social-emotional skills, such as student responsibility, cognitive control, self-regulation and social cooperation, as a means to support academic achievement and social development.
The primary aim of the Learning Cultures® model is to help all students find a sense of purpose in their education, to become more intentional about their learning, and to acquire strategies and dispositions that help ensure they are able to carry out their own intentions.
Based on the ideas that children meet or exceed their potential depending on the resources provided by their culture, the Learning Cultures® curriculum provides students and teachers with the supports necessary to create classroom cultures that allow all children to take initiative to rise to their fullest potential. Learning Cultures® is an educational model designed to ensure all students learn.
The model is organized around classroom systems, organizational systems, and curriculum systems. At the classroom level, each period is organized into Learning Formats designed to maximize student autonomy, engagement and social interaction. These Formats include: Cooperative Unison Reading®, Work Time, Learning Conferences, Content Share, Writing Conferences, Small Group Instruction and Responsibility Teams (see: www.LearningCultures.net). Each of the Formats prescribes a set of procedures for teachers and students to follow. The procedures target social-emotional skills as opposed to cognitive skills normally associated with core curriculum (such as vocabulary, phonics, comprehension, or computation). By adhering to these social-emotional or ‘non-cognitive’ skills, students have opportunities to learn the cognitive skills that align with core curriculum standards.
Procedures for each format are prescribed in a rubric. Teachers use the rubrics as tools to coach students to strategically engage in cooperative problem solving and/or independent work in order to learn standards-based content. Over time, students become increasingly adept at goal setting, planning and pacing their own work. As they gain independence, students increasingly rely on peer collaboration as learning strategy, a skill highly valued in the 21st Century workplace.
The Learning Cultures® model has been successfully implemented in over 10 NYC public district schools where it has had a dramatic impact on student achievement (See: http://mccallister.wpengine.com/impact)
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