What is Learning Cultures?
Learning Cultures® is a comprehensive school development program invented by Cynthia McCallister. Also known as the ‘McCallister Method,’ the program restructures the cultural systems of schools and classrooms in ways that support academic development as well as 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.
The virtues of the McCallister Method are made possible in part by the view that students are a primary resource of human capital within a school system. By organizing school development to more directly benefit the students, Learning Cultures provides a system of training students to understand and master the educational practices through which they are taught. Within this pedagogical paradigm shift, from a focus on the teacher to a focus on the student, schools may now invest directly in the ‘end user’ of the overall system. Minimizing students’ dependence on teachers, schools may re-allocate funding towards resources that directly benefit students, like art, music, robotics, science labs, computer games and mobile devices.
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 Learning Cultures® model has been successfully implemented in over 10 NYC public district schools where it has had a dramatic impact on student achievement (Click on the ‘Impact’ tab in the navigation bar to read a white paper outlining program effectiveness).