Excited, empowered and eager to learn. Golden Hills aims to foster confident, creative and compassionate learners who make a difference in the world. This is what inspires teachers to create the best possible learning experiences for their students

What is Powerful Learning?

  • the design and implementation of learning experiences that foster Deep Understanding while developing core competencies designed to prepare students for future challenges. It incorporates lesson design, implementation, and assessment using strategic instruction.
  • leads students towards a deep understanding when they are inspired with a sense of “awe and wonder,” inspired to see and hear others’ perspectives, insights and questions, and make new connections. It occurs when learners are immersed in a culture of thinking and when the development of understanding is the primary goal of learning. This requires a growth mindset and habits of mind such as open-mindedness and persistence, as well as a thinking disposition, including critical and creative thinking.
  • encompasses the core competencies of creativity, communication, citizenship, critical thinking, and connecting and collaborating. Extracting information and solving complex problems is no longer enough. We need our students, the future leaders of tomorrow, to be able to raise questions, hold multiple ideas in their mind and be flexible. We need adaptive thinkers who see situations from multiple perspectives. To do this, our classrooms need to intentionally design learning and encourage students to be creative, critical thinkers and collaborative, compassionate learners. Powerful Learning incorporates the meaningful use of technology as a learning tool to access information, innovate and communicate.
  • incorporates the design and implementation of authentic, rigorous units of study based upon the curriculum, the integration of strategic instruction, as well as a focus on creating engaging learning environments and learning connections. It is the integration of all of these dimensions that supports deep understanding of curricular objectives and enables students to acquire a disposition for all learning, now and in their future.

What is the goal of Powerful Learning?

The ultimate goal of Powerful Learning is to design learning experiences that will enable our students to develop a Deep Understanding and for our students to grow, discover and change –change their thinking, change themselves, and help change the world.

Key Components of Powerful Learning

Powerful Learning is the design of learning experiences that facilitate deep student understanding. This design is clustered around three drivers: Strategic Instruction, Authentic Engagement and Connecting and Contributing. In order to ensure the development of deep understanding of the curriculum essentials, elements of Powerful Learning are woven throughout each driver.  These essentials are foundational to the planning of lessons and instruction in Golden Hills, and are necessary to achieve Deep Understanding.

  • Strategic Instruction: The first driver, Strategic Instruction, incorporates high yield, evidence based strategies and practices designed to improve student learning. This component includes Assessment for Learning strategies, as well as strategies designed to foster thinking.
  • Authentic Engagement: The second driver, Authentic Engagement, defines how to set up the culture and environment to foster Powerful Learning. It includes how to create a sense of belonging and well-being, the role of a growth mindset and how to build a culture of thinking in our classrooms.
  • Connecting and Contributing: The third driver, Connecting and Contributing, describes the connections with oneself between students and teachers, students and students, students and their parents, and local and global communities. Relationships are the foundation of these connections as students extend their learning beyond the classroom.
  • Foundational Frameworks: Powerful Learning is dependent on foundational skills developed through a thinking approach that ensures deep understanding and an ability to transfer to new contexts (literacy, numeracy and technology).

Want to learn how to design Powerful Learning in your classroom? Check out the Designing Learning page.


Download the full Powerful Learning document.