I was asked a critical question from an instructional coach: "Are your students reading, writing, talking, and thinking in class every day? I answered, "Yes, of course!" But then I began to reflect and my answer became "most of the time." Then, after reviewing my practices in the classroom, my answer became "some of the time." Luckily, I was in a school that had a six strategy innovative instructional model called the Common Instructional Framework developed by Jobs for the Future. Later, another model, NCNS's Aligned Instructional Strategies, in my opinion, improved on the former. Let's look at these strategies, but a reminder that strategies are only as good as the teacher using them. Strategies are the guiding principles that promote excellence in the classroom and protocols support strategies. Let's look at the strategies:
The Collaboration Strategy generates focused groups, enables students to communicate, both as speaker and listener, exposes them to other points of view, and maximizes engagement. Individual accountability within the group is paramount for true collaboration to exist. Click on "Collaboration Protocols" for additional ways to make collaboration easy in the classroom.
The Discussion Strategy is a process by which both speaking and listening skills are taught and valued. It promotes collaboration and questioning skills as well. The suggested ratio is 80% student talk to 20% teacher talk. Click the "Discussion Protocols" button to enhance classroom talk!
The Feedback Strategy provides both teacher and student perspective on performance in relation to goals sought and meaningful ways to improve. Data collection, formative assessments, and student self-assessment are examples included on this page. Click on "Feedback Protocols" for additional methods and strategies.
The Questioning Strategy assists students to connect concepts, make inferences, increase awareness, encourage creative and imaginative thought, aid critical thinking processes, and generally helps students explore deeper levels of knowing, thinking, and understanding. Click "Questioning Protocols" for more information and specific protocols to use.
The Reading Strategy promotes the idea that building reading skills is a continuous process. Incorporating reading and skills to improve reading creates a sense of expectation and importance for students. Reading must be included in all secondary subjects. Click the "Reading Protocols" for specific reading strategies.
The Writing Strategy is a process that promotes critical thinking and is not content-specific. These strategies help students to develop expressive language skills and fluency as well as train students to process information. Writing should be included in all subjects, including mathematics. Click "Writing Protocols" for ways that will improve learning via the written word.
Alison Thetford, M.Ed