Danish design for deep learning

by Pam Hook on July 19, 2018

in deep learning, History, Secondary, SOLO Taxonomy, student inquiry

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How a Danish educator designs for deep understanding during student research in History.

The deep understanding is a teaching goal for me – it’s not enough that they know about the war and the war came. They have to understand the consequences and the influences of the historical event on the future. Jes Chistensen (Personal communication 2018)

When working in Denmark at the start of 2018 I talked with many teachers about surface and deep learning. One conversation with Jes Christensen explored the design strategies Danish teachers used for deep learning in disciplinary thinking and how these aligned with using SOLO as a model of surface and deep learning. It captured my attention right from the start and Jes and I continued to talk after I returned to New Zealand.

Jes is a secondary teacher who had put a lot of energy and thought into enhancing the depth of learning his senior students experienced when they undertook student research in history. His students are 14-15 years old which answers to 8th grade in the Danish school system.

Our conversation has had to wait for holidays when we both have had time to think but after several months Jes has just finished the first iteration of a Danish SOLO alignment matrix for deep learning in History. Check out his SOLO aligned thinking in the table below.  As a context, Jes has used the war in 1864 between Denmark and Prussia (nowadays known as Germany).

As Jes describes –

The HOOKed diagramme reflects my teaching in the war and especially what the defeat meant for the Danish foreign policy the next 135 years. I always say to my students that “history very often can give the answers and explanations to current incidents”.

I tell them about “the red string” through history and the war in 1864 is a genuine example on the red string from then to nowadays. The deep understanding is a teaching goal for me – it’s not enough that they know about the war and the war came. They have to understand the consequences and the influences of the historical event on the future.

Tænk som en historiker.

Tænk som en historiker.PrestructuralUnistructuralMultistructuralRelational Extended abstract
What do you know about the historic incident?I know virtually nothingI know a little about the incidentI know the incident and I can explain the major topics in the incident I know the incident, I can place it in its age and I can tell about other incidents that led up to the incident

I can account for the consequences of the incident in a forward perspective
I can account for development in the meaning of the incident in the society’s view
I can account for the connection between political decisions in present times and the incident 136 years before
Questions to move the studentDo you have any idea where you can get information about this topic?Make a charter of your knowledge and look at the connections. How can you use the connections to focus on getting more knowledge?If you look on the historic incidents. Rank the incidents from most important to important to less important.

The students’ knowledge is on a high level but he/she cannot put the incidents in a connection with other historic incidents in the future.
Look at the sources you’ve used. How do we know if they are reliable sources and we can depend on them?How does this particular incident influence historic incidents? Incidents related to 1864 will be:
• Reunion in 1920
• How the Danish government worked with Germany during parts of WWII
• The Danish membership of Nato
• The Danish participation in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya
Strategies that work for both students and teachersShow/give examples that shows interpretations and historic incidentsShow/give examples of first- and second-hand impressions that underlies the historic eventShow/give examples that can determine credibility and determination as for example, sustainability, perspective, profundity and the quantity of the people involvedShow/explain considerable changes in history throughout the time and do it through an individual perspective or through a society point of perspective.Show/explain how one historic incident have influenced on one or more historic incidents.

Here we’re looking for the students’ ability in making a constructive view on the history and the connections between historic incidents.

Further Reading
Some links to give you – and others who may have an interest in developing an opportunity to understand the trauma the Danish politicians and inhabitants had after the loss.

1864 und die Folgen, Teil 8 | The Destiny Year in Danish History, Politics and Culture


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