This is the eighth article in the series Implementing Competency Education in K-12 Systems: Insights from Local Leaders.
Some districts and schools may already have a strong pedagogical approach in place, while others may find they need to think more in-depth about motivation, engagement, instruction, assessment, and the role of grading. If there isn’t an explicit pedagogical approach in place, it should begin with a review of research and lead to the development of guiding principles about learning and teaching (as discussed in the section on shared purpose).
What are the research, beliefs, and assumptions that guide your pedagogical approach? Having a strong pedagogical approach isn’t the same as saying you want all teachers to teach in the same way. Instead, it is a set of general principles that help answer questions such as:
- What do we know about the different ways to motivate and engage students?
- Where does student agency fit in learning?
- What role do habits of learning play, and how can they be developed in students?
- What does the research tell us about effective instructional practices?
- What are the types of assessment, and what role do they play in achievement?
- What types of learning experiences are needed to help students reach graduation goals?
- Given your current student population, their academic needs, and their life and learning experiences, how might this inform your school design or pedagogical approach?
- What challenges and educational needs can online and blended learning help you address?
- How do parents and the community at large think about these questions?
Lindsay Unified School District organizes beliefs and guiding principles to emphasize the growth of all learners, learning facilitators, and the overall culture of learning. (See their Guiding Beliefs.)
What is the role of the district in ensuring schools can offer a mix of instructional approaches and modalities? As you begin to think about the role and balance of direct instruction, practical application, group projects, project-and problem-based learning, independent learning, and real-life applications, you will find that school design and capacity issues begin to emerge, including those related to existing schedules, calendars, and partners for extended learning. This is the point where it may be worth spending the time to determine how blended and online learning can best support your students and teachers. Have you had difficulty serving some of your students? Are there some ways that blended and online education can help you strengthen the learning experience for them? (more…)