The Building Blocks of Learning Cultures

In The New York TImes, David Brooks writes about The Building Blocks of Learning.

At Green Careers, we strongly believe "teachers must teach students how to feel about their own feelings; how not to be swallowed up by moments of failure, anger and sadness, but to slow the moment and step outside the emotional spiral."

We make space for this type of learning to take place - in fact, we emphasize its importance alongside whatever material students are exploring in a given class. Through Unison Reading, and individual conferences, students are encouraged to think about their own thinking - to be metacognitive. At the same time, these structures also build what Brooks refers to as "noncognitive skills." We engage in promotive, relational discourse and, through it, develop empathy for one another. We emphasize Responsibility-Based Self Control, so that students learn to step outside that emotional spiral, and help their peers to as well.

In Learning Cultures, we are working to fulfill this call, that "teachers are now called upon not only to teach biology but to create a culture: a culture of caring criticism, so students feel loved while they improve; a culture of belonging, so fragile students feel their work has value."

Through discourse and norms that create safety, we aim to "fortify the heart" as we "educate the mind."