Finding Purpose, Skill, and Connection


In 2018, why would students take conventional schooling seriously?

According to Fullan, Quinn and McEachen (Deep Learning, 2018, p. 3), there is no reason for the majority of students to do so.

The current school structure is oppressive to many young people.

How many educators have experienced a school day from the place of a student?  Many kids spend their entire day sitting, listening, and being told to sit still and listen.

“Humans work hard to get away from something that is oppressive whether it be constraints or boredom.” (Deep Learning, 2018, p. 4)  And when kids demonstrate no interest in what we have to offer, “we write them off as incapable or unteachable”.  Then we give them soul-sucking remedial work to “close the gap” as further punishment, all in the name of getting them caught up.

The students most alienated in society are furthest from the learning, and least likely to engage.


What can the idea of “deep learning” do for these students?

It’s very challenging for children to understand where they might fit into the highly volatile, complex and ambiguous world we are living in – a world very different from the one their parents and most educators entered years ago.  When they are disengaged from school, the paths they are most likely to take are the paths of least resistance – “to relief, not gratification” (Deep Learning, 2018, p. 4)

So how, then, as a school system, can we change the path of alienation from learning in school?

Deep Learning Engage the World Change the World (click on the image for the link)

The research is demonstrating time and time again, that children who are disconnected from school – those who don’t feel like they belong in the current structure – can be drawn in by a deep learning approach in classrooms.

When the learning becomes relevant and empowering, there is no limit to what our children can achieve.


Our #nledDPAG (Director’s Principal Advisory Group) are working on solutions to student disengagement in grades 7-12. As part of this work we are reading Deep Learning Engage the World Change the World by Fullan, Quinn and McEachen (2018).  This is an ongoing reflection on that work.


Podcast with Michael Fullan – Voices from the Field

Deep Learning, Engage the World Change the World, Chapter 1

I Love Learning but I Hate School (Modern Learners Podcast)


Featured image on Unsplash by Sushobhan Badhai

Deep Learning Series:

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