Principles of Learning

The Principles of Learning are condensed statements summarizing decades of learning research. They represent the most recent thinking about best practice and will drive our restructuring efforts. The Principles are:

Academic Rigor in a Thinking Curriculum: Teaching and learning must include a commitment to a content core, critical thinking, and active and meaningful use of knowledge.

Accountable Talk: Classroom conversation must promote learning by being accurate, rigorous, and relevant; talk must use evidence appropriate to the discipline.

Clear Expectations: We need to specifically define and clearly communicate what we expect students to learn. Descriptive criteria, such as rubrics, and models of work that meets standards should be publicly displayed.

Fair and Credible Evaluations: We need to use assessments that students find fair and that the community finds credible. Fair assessment means grading against an absolute standard.

Learning as Apprenticeship: Learning alongside an expert has been done for centuries. In the school setting, students must see and analyze complex thinking and be mentored and coached as they undertake extended, real-world projects.

Organizing for Effort: Sustained and directed effort leads to high achievement for all students. Everything in the school setting is organized to promote and support effort; the message is sent that tough problems are solved by strong effort.

Recognition of Accomplishment: Students putting forth high levels of effort are motivated when their accomplishments are recognized. Clear recognition of real accomplishments is the hallmark of an effort-based school.

Socializing Intelligence: Intelligent habits of mind are learned by way of the daily expectations placed on the learner. All students are required to use the skills of intelligent thinking.

Self-Management of Learning: Students manage their own learning by evaluating the feedback they get from others, managing time, using previous knowledge, setting goals and judging their progress toward meeting goals.

"The Principles of Learning are the property and service marks of the Institute for Learning at the University of Pittsburg and may not be used, reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of The University of Pittsburgh."