How to Go Beyond Surface Learning

Many of you are celebrating Christmas, Chanukah or another form of gratefulness for life and living. I believe the information in this brief blog will help students go beyond surface learning and can also help us, as adults, go beyond a surface existence.


Whether it is teaching students, or having a conversation with a family member, there is always what I call an “opening gesture.” Some of use the same exact one every single time. This can become boring, sort of like, “How was your day?” What about starting out with something different on some days like:

  • Tell me something interesting

  • What’s new that wasn’t new last week?

  • Tell me a story

Even if these are met with confusion, that is still far better than being met with complacency or outright boredom. An opening gesture doesn’t have to be made with words. It  could be made with a physical gesture, or an act of service. The key is:

Switch up your opening gestures to keep curiosity alive

This one thing has helped me live with more wonder and joy in my life. Students enjoy the shifting of questions from ordinary to contrary to extraordinary. This sets up the learner with the mentality of being more of chameleon, an improviser, and someone who is seeking an adventurous approach to life and learning.

More to come on this topic!