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Deeper Learning for All: From the Classroom to the System

6/26/17 to 6/29/17

This is a blended program, with online activities beginning June 1, 2017.

Tuition: $2,450

Priority Application Deadline: April 20, 2017

We are currently accepting and reviewing applications as space is available. For consideration, please submit an application at your earliest convenience, no later than June 12, 2017.

What You Will Learn

"One of the most powerful things you can do is give adults models and experiences that mirror what you are hoping they will do for students. We also call this "symmetry" in our work — that if, as a system level leader, you want teachers to teach students in a particular way, you have to give teachers opportunities to have those same kinds of learning experiences." – Jal Mehta, Faculty Chair

What kinds of experiences produce powerful learning, and how can we ensure that all learners have access to these experiences? How can we support educators to create conditions for deep and powerful learning, preparing all students for success in contemporary life? What changes — at individual, classroom, school, and systems levels — would this shift in teaching and learning require?

In Deeper Learning for All, you will examine these questions and what it would mean to rethink old models and paradigms for education and to design a new 21st-century system that promotes deeper and more engaging instruction for all students. Through experiential learning, readings, reflection, and observations, you will come to see what it would mean to do deeper learning, and identify the leverage points that are most promising for creating a different system.

Program Overview

"With all the talk of 21st-century skills and deeper learning, you might think that we have moved into an era where doing this kind of teaching and learning was the rule and not the exception. That couldn't be further from the truth. We can hope someday that we move to a world in which the larger systems are organized to incentivize and support deep learning, but we are not living in that world today. This means that teaching in the ways that promote deeper learning for all students is a subversive and countercultural act." - Jal Mehta, Faculty Chair

A large body of evidence suggests that the existing education system falls short of preparing most students to successfully navigate the demands of contemporary life. Today's adults require far more than the basic academic knowledge and skills that have dominated classroom instruction for decades. They must be able to tackle open-ended problems in critical, creative, and collaborative ways and to quickly learn new skills as job markets change.

In this program, you will have the opportunity to experience and experiment with learning deeply in a variety of settings, and to assess your current instructional practice, reflect on the obstacles that may inhibit deeper learning within your context, and develop a plan that addresses those obstacles, leveraging design principles to propose concrete changes you can implement right away within your own classroom, school, or setting.

Program Objectives
  • Learn to define deeper learning and think about how we might create a system which supports it
  • Join a community of practitioners, policymakers, and researchers who are working to shift from a 20th to a 21st century school system
  • Develop your thinking: Combine the aforementioned skills with your values in order to design for deeper learning. Use the design thinking process to create a deliverable that will move a classroom, school, and/or sector toward your vision of deeper learning
Program Experience

This highly interactive on-campus program will unfold in three parts:

  1. Experiential Learning: The first part of this on-campus program is about experiencing powerful learning and reflecting upon what makes learning deep. You will experience a variety of out-of-school learning environments, participate in a deeper learning class with a K-12 teacher in your discipline, and do an extended workshop with Ron Berger, chief academic officer at EL Education, on deeper learning beyond project based learning.
  2. Structural Change: During the second portion of this on-campus program, you will reflect on what produces powerful learning for the students and adults with whom you work, understand what structural changes are required in your context to create those conditions, and leverage design principles to formulate a plan of action you can implement with your team.
  3. The Change Process: During the third portion of this program, you will examine issues that may be especially useful as you manage the change process, including workshops on how to get unstuck, how to move from technical to adaptive change, how to build brave communities that honestly address issues of race, and how to do whole school redesign for deeper learning.

In preparation for this on-campus program, prior to June 26, you will engage in approximately 7-10 hours of online pre-work which includes readings and reflection and a half-day dedicated to shadowing a student.

Who Should Attend

Educators who attend as part of a team are able to increase the impact of their learning both while on campus, and once they have returned home. We encourage school-based, district, and mixed teams to attend, leveraging the collective experiences and expertise among those who work directly with students and those whose decisions influence the structures and systems for teaching and learning.

  • School-based teams, including school and/or district leaders
  • Classroom teachers, department heads, instructional coaches
  • Leaders of extra-curricular programs
  • Educators at all stages of their careers, including pre-service educators in training
  • Faculty for schools of education



Faculty Co-Chairs

Jal Mehta, associate professor at HGSE. Mehta is co-editor of the Learning Deeply blog at Education Week and in 2014 was the top-ranked junior faculty scholar in the Rick Hess Education Week rankings. He is also the winner of HGSE’s Morningstar Teaching Award and most recently awarded a Radcliffe Fellowship and will be on sabbatical for the 2016-17 academic year. Mehta's research explores the role of different forms of knowledge in tackling major social and political problems, particularly problems of human improvement. He has also written extensively on what it would take to improve American education, with a particular focus on the professionalization of teaching.

Alisa Berger, adjunct lecturer on education at HGSE. Berger's consulting work focuses on working with schools and districts on the design and implementation of next generation school models. Before moving to Massachusetts, she was the founding co-principal at the NYC iSchool, a New York City public high school committed to rethinking high school for the 21st century. Previously, she has worked in the DOE central offices as a Director of Leadership and Organizational Learning. 


Ron Berger, chief academic officer, EL Education

Libby Woodfin, director of publications, EL Education



Step One
You will be asked to provide your personal profile and organizational information.

Step Two
You will be asked to respond to the following questions:

  1. Explain how participation in the program will benefit your work and describe one or more significant challenges you would like to explore during the program. (250 word limit)
  2. In what ways do you expect your particular skills, experience and perspective to contribute to group discussions? (250 word limit)


Identify Your Team Coordinator

  • Before beginning the application process, you will need to identify a team coordinator.
  • The coordinator will be the primary point of contact during the application process and preparation for the program.
  • The coordinator does not need to attend the program and will have the opportunity to indicate if they will be attending during the application process.

Application Process

  1. A team application to be completed once by the coordinator.
  2. A team member application to be completed by each member of your team.
  • In order for your team to be considered for review by the admissions committee, each team member will need to complete the team member application. The coordinator will receive a link to the team member application once the team application is complete.
  • Once started, the team application must be completed in a single session. It should take 15–20 minutes to complete.
  • A list of required questions will be provided at the beginning of the team application.
  • When your coordinator is ready to complete the team application, it can be accessed by continuing to the next page.
Fees, Hotel Accommodations, and Policies

The comprehensive tuition includes all instructional materials and refreshments. Participants receive a certificate of participation upon completion of the program.

Payment or a purchase order must be received within thirty days of program acceptance and prior to the program start. Participants are responsible for their own travel expenses. While a purchase order confirms a reservation, an outstanding balance is maintained until payment is rendered. 

Please click here for more information on hotel accommodations for on-campus programs.

Please click here for more information on our on-campus and online refund and withdrawal policies. If you have any additional questions or concerns about your ability to participate, please contact our admissions team at or 1-800-545-1849.

The Harvard Graduate School of Education reserves the right to change faculty or cancel programs at its discretion. In the unlikely event of program changes, the school is not responsible for non-refundable travel arrangements or other planning expenses incurred.

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