Adaptive Expertise

Author: Matthew Rush  • 

Wonderment:  You’ve likely experienced it yourself.  And as a parent, you’ve undoubtedly seen it.  It filled you with joy and a smile, right?  Isn’t it awesome?

At the heart of wonderment is the notion of deep learning.  This is learning that is connective, engaging, and relational.  This learning is NOT superficial (memorization), and it is NOT strategic (for a grade or to check a box).  Instead, deep learning is the kind of learning we are striving for at Allen Academy.

You may be thinking: Great Matt… Why should I care about this idea?

Aside from the obvious benefits to the underlying principles behind deep learning, the faculty here continues to discuss how we prepare our students to inherit a world that promises increased uncertainty, complexity, and interconnectedness.  As such, we must provide both the tools and the attitudes.

You may be thinking: Great, Matt… How do you do that?

The answer starts with the concept of Adaptive Expertise.  This concept started in the field of learning science forty years ago, and has slowly crept into education only within the past decade.  Its tenets are around 1) Habits of Mind (metacognition, strategy, self-governance, and reflection) and 2) Habits of Spirit (flexibility, creativity, curiosity, and risk-taking).  The combination of the two allow for an individual to know themselves extraordinarily well, as well as to communicate and relate to others.  This is powerful stuff, if you believe the premise that the world is becoming more complex and unpredictable.  Regardless, we can certainly agree with the statement that “amid changing times, learners inherit the Earth and thrive, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

What makes Adaptive Experts different?

Adaptive Experts are always learning; they are learning HOW to learn and HOW to do it better in order to help others.  Individuals with this mindset have a relentless attitude toward lifelong learning (attitude), as well as the skill set to perform a task as a routine expert.  This “lethal” combination is that which will ultimately allow for success, no matter the stage

In the coming weeks, I will continue to talk about Adaptive Expertise, wonderment, grit, and preparing our children for so much more than just college.

My best,


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