Optimum learning is coherent, and practical. It requires intentional planning, soundly structured lessons, varied assessments, metacognition, and authentic learning tasks, to convey ideas and create a personal understanding of how a student learns and pursues knowledge. Journey to Excellence 2.0 posits the following core elements of optimum learning.
To be coherent, curriculum and instruction in Adventist schools must be aligned with the NAD standards for student learning which identify what a student should know and be able to do.
Learning that is designed to connect what is learned to real-world problems and applications prepares students for success in a changing society, and helps them to use their reasoning powers to discern right from wrong. It goes beyond existing knowledge to include the creation and use of new knowledge. Students need frequent opportunities to read, discuss, debate, write, think deeply, and reflect about what they are learning in every subject. Two areas foundational for all learning are authentic literacy and authentic numeracy.
Authentic Literacy includes reading, writing, listening, and speaking, in all subject areas. More than learning to read and write, it provides opportunities for students to use their literacy skills as a tool for learning in every subject.
Authentic Numeracy is the understanding of numeric concepts and how they relate to everyday life. It is the knowledge skills, behaviors, and dispositions that students need in order to understand the world and to become informed and engaged citizens.
These competencies provide the student with the skills and traits necessary to succeed both in school and beyond. These should be implemented regularly as part of the learning process.
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: the use of experience, knowledge, reason, and belief to form carefully considered judgments and to solve problems
Collaboration: the ability to work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams to accomplish a common goal
Communication: the ability to articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written, and nonverbal skills in a variety of forms and contexts
Creativity and Curiosity: the use of knowledge and imagination to create new ways of thinking to find innovative solutions to problems and to create products and services
Citizenship: participation in civic life through collaborative involvement in community issues and concern for local, national, and global environments
Character: the demonstration of Christian values and dispositions in responding to a changing environment
Connection with God: a recognition that God is the source of all wisdom and understanding
Cultural Appreciation: an understanding and respect for the diversity of human culture and traditions.
To become successful learners, students should be taught to understand and analyze their thought processes and to direct their thoughts and actions toward choosing appropriate and helpful strategies for learning in every context.
The redemptive aim of Adventist education and a biblical understanding of world events, mission, service, and values should be integrated throughout the curriculum and should be woven into all lessons. By emulating the methods of Jesus, the Master Teacher, the Adventist educator should seek both to make disciples and to nurture learners toward making decisions based on a uniquely Adventist perspective.
The elements of effective instruction include strategies for inspiring student engagement and attentiveness, clear learning targets, teaching/modeling, guided practice, checking for understanding, purposeful assessment, and independent practice.
Assessment should be ongoing and student-centered, providing descriptive feedback that is meaningful, timely, and aligned with standards. Student-centered assessment uses a variety of practices to motivate, measure learner achievement, and inform instruction.
Educators must provide the support and tools necessary to help every student access an engaging, meaningful, and rigorous curriculum. In equitable classrooms, teachers confront biases and implement a variety of learning strategies that benefit all students.