Traditional linear transmission curriculum models are organized into discrete units and specify a prescribed sequence of instruction to be taught by teachers and presumably mastered by students. In the traditional mode, students are held hostage by the order in which a teacher chooses to present knowledge.
Learning Cultures is different. The curriculum is organized around social practices defined by the Formats, which specify the roles and responsibilities for students and teachers as well as the ways in which academic content and learning standards are used. The Formats alter traditional lines of responsibility in the classroom, holding students accountable for accessing the knowledge they need.
Whereas most curriculum models address content frontally through didactic transmission, Learning Cultures Formats enable students to take initiative to learn content through participation in social practices. Learning Cultures ensures students master literacy and content competencies, as well as the social competencies that are an integral facet of all forms of 21st century literacy.
Sarah Dennis, Ph.D., Achievement Coach, The Urban Assembly, New York City
“Many have speculated about how to alter systems of education so that, instead of blaming students for failure or casting them as ‘deviants,’ to change school to fit children so that they all flourish. But few have succeeded. Learning Cultures is just such a revolutionary (and plausible) option. Learning Cultures changes the systems of school based on what we know about how people learn best…with autonomy, agency, intentionality, relatedness, and collaboration.”
Susan Neuman, Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, New York University
“Unison Reading could be the most innovative approach to reading instruction that I’ve come across in the last 20 years. It has the potential to transform classroom practice, enabling students to meet the highest quality standards of reading instruction.”
Joshua Aronson, Associate Professor, Department of Applied Psychology, New York University
“Professor McCallister has developed one of the most exciting and important educational innovations I have ever seen. In an era where schools are forced into a Faustian choice between time spent on academic skills and time spent on social, moral, and character development, along comes this ingenious program, a theoretical and practical breath of fresh air, which elegantly does it all at the same time. This book should be read by anyone interested in improving education.”
Amy Piller, Assistant Principal, Urban Assembly Unison School, Brooklyn, NY
“Before Learning Cultures, my ideas for facing an unruly class basically boiled down to me burning the candle at both ends attempting to build unique personal relationships with students, through which to coax them into a small modicum of their potential. Since using Learning Cultures, I no longer find the most challenging of classes daunting. Instead, I see untapped potential and systematic ways to garner the energy that every classroom full of student interests guarantees. I see ways to help students better understand themselves and their abilities as well as students themselves actually closing their gaps and getting on the path to reach their dreams.”