Jal Mehta, professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Sarah Fine, head of a teacher preparation program at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education in San Diego, are the authors of In Search of Deeper Learning: The Quest to Remake the American High School. In this recent LA times piece, “How to make high schools better for students,” they shared some of the most important insights from their research that showed real learning occurs when students:
- Work to produce something consequential
- See the purpose in what they’re doing
- Have some choice of what they learn
- Receive regular feedback
- Belong to a community that drives and supports high standards
Now, here’s an important corollary for the college-bound. Curious students who love learning seek opportunities like those described above whether or not they are available at the high school. And those students almost always stand out to colleges.
Opportunities to learn what you want to learn are everywhere. Books. Local community colleges. Online courses. Articles and videos on the internet. If your intellectual itch just isn’t being scratched by your high school classes, attend to your school responsibilities (every college pays attention to your classes and grades on your transcript), but fill your personalized intellectual tank elsewhere.