101-F2016. An Introduction to Learning Cultures, Fall 2016

learning cultures

Most curricula are organized into discrete units and specify a prescribed sequence of instruction to be taught by teachers and then mastered by students. Learning Cultures is different. It is organized around social practices, called ‘formats,’ which are highly organized, academically-rigorous, socially-oriented procedures that students follow at every grade level in every subject. The formats specify the roles and responsibilities for both students and teachers, as well as the ways that learning standards meet. Because the classical transmission structure is replaced by a democratic, socially-inclusive system of engaging curriculum, students have opportunities to participate in ’emotionships’ with one another. Emotionships are the broad web of social relationships that that allow us to regulate ourselves emotionally. Just as adults have career mentors, best friends and romantic partners to help negotiate the interior landscapes of our mental lives, students in Learning Cultures classrooms have peers to help them negotiate the mental landscapes of their academic identities. So in addition meeting high standards, students learn how to take responsibility for learning and learn how to take part in relationships with others. And that provides happiness and a sense of well-being.

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