Deep Learning

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Our approach to learning

To prepare your child for the future, they need to be able to do more than memorize facts and figures. They need to create, connect and use information in a variety of creative ways. That’s why every school in the Ottawa Catholic School Board uses a “deep learning” approach to education.

Developing skills to last a lifetime

We know that the world is changing, and changing fast. We believe that the best way to prepare our young learners for the future is to help them develop skills and competencies that they can use in careers that might not even exist today. At every Ottawa Catholic school, we focus on helping your child develop global competencies: citizenship, character, communication, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity.

Citizenship is the skill that allows your child to connect with people with diverse world views and perspectives diplomatically. People who master this skill are engaged members of society who contribute to improving our world for the benefit of all.

Character is one of the more apparent skills that your child will need throughout their whole life. This skill describes how your child interacts with others in the world and produces important traits like perseverance, resilience, humility and kindness.

Communication is an essential skill that will help your child interact with others, express their thoughts, feelings and ideas. This skill also allows your child to understand others and involves using a variety of tools and mediums to connect with the right audience.

Critical thinking is the ability to thoughtfully evaluate information and arguments by seeing patterns and making connections. This skill is becoming more and more important as information becomes easier to access and will help your child apply information and knowledge in the real world.

Collaborator is a skill that allows your child to work well with others. A successful collaborator knows how to offer their unique talents and abilities while accepting, valuing and building upon the strengths that others bring to the table.

Creativity is a valuable skill that God has placed in each of us. It allows your child to take an idea and turn it into a reality. This skill is developed when your child encouraged to “think outside the box,” be resourceful, and take risks to come up with innovative ideas and solutions to problems.

How we develop these skills in your child

Learning partnerships

Our educators use partnerships and relationships to help your child develop skills and competencies. Examples of these partnerships could be peers in your child’s classroom, younger or older students, members of your local and global community, and people within your local faith community.

Learning environments

We know that your child’s environment can have a direct correlation on their ability to engage and learn. That’s why we’re rethinking how our classrooms are set up so your child has flexible areas to work, learn and collaborate.

Effective teaching

Do you remember a teacher who made a difference in your education? Chances are they tailored their approach to teaching to meet your needs and make it engaging and interesting for you. We’re using evidence-based teaching practices to design lessons and monitor and assess how your child is learning.


Digital tools and technology have made it easier, faster and more convenient to access information. This frees us to go deeper in your child’s learning so they aren’t just memorizing information, they’re learning to think critically about that information and apply what they know to real-world challenges.

International leaders in Deep Learning

The Ottawa Catholic School Board is a global leader when it comes to Deep Learning. Michael Fullan, the man who coined the term “Deep Learning,” mentions the Ottawa Catholic School Board by name in one of his books as an example to follow. In 2019, we were recognized as the District of Distinction by the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning Global Network for how we live out the concept of Deep Learning in our classrooms throughout Ottawa. Throughout the school year, delegations of educators from around the world come to visit our schools to see our innovative and impactful approach to teaching your children.