Approaches to Teaching and Learning

Within Standards-Based Content, the content areas highlight content-specific evidence-based instructional practices. The definition of evidence-based draws from the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to encompass practices based in evidence gleaned from “well-designed and well-implemented” studies and proven to be effective in improving student achievement.

Effective and responsive processes for teaching and learning are, by nature, complex and contextual, and instructional practices should meet the specific needs of the students in a school community. A theory of action can help educators decide how to best address the needs of their unique student body. The following table provides theories of action focused on rigorous standards and increased student engagement:

To increase opportunities for...

We should employ ...

Some examples include...

Student Aspirations, Voice, and Choice

Practices that emphasize student-centered approaches to learning and make student interests and aspirations drivers of instruction.

Cultural Responsiveness

Practices that facilitate incorporation of students’ background, cultures and languages into instruction. Practices that employ asset-based pedagogies and include components of HĀ that strengthen a sense of belonging.

Place-Based Learning, ‘aina-based learning, teaching through the lens of social justice, “Windows and Mirrors,” culturally relevant pedagogy.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Practices that support students in thinking critically, developing their questions, engaging in research, evaluating sources, and communicating their knowledge with various audiences.

Global Learning & Relevance

Practices that reflect the relevant application of knowledge and connect disciplinary content with local and global themes, problems, and issues. Include ways to strengthen a sense of responsibility as reflected in the HĀ framework.

Applied Learning, Interdisciplinary Learning, Place-Based Learning.

Skill Development and Application

Instruction that includes time to teach students about importance and process for applying a skill, model the skill, and provide opportunities for feedback and practice.

Skills-Based Approach, Skill Development Model, Participatory Methods, Explicit Instruction.

The content areas describe rigorous standards that every student should attain (BOE Policy 102-3). Aligning with a constructivist approach (Danielson, 1996), a school and its staff should determine implementation of these standards based on their specific community context and student population. Effective and responsive teachers, then, understand that responsibility for learning falls on both teacher and the student and that meaning-making reflects a collaborative process of co-construction rather than simple transfer of information.

HIDOE has advocated models such as the Standards Implementation Process Model (SIPM) to ensure that standards are the focus of lessons and units. Schools have used a variety of models such as Universal Design for Learning and Project-based Learning as powerful and engaging instructional designs. Educators, as professionals, can also consider the needs of their students and use Sheltered Instruction or Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) as they address their English Learners. Teacher collaboration around these models can lead to consistent and effective processes through which teachers deliver content to students.

Schools that co-teach should consider the following models:

  1. One-teach, one assist
  2. One-teach, one drift
  3. Station teaching
  4. Parallel teaching
  5. Alternate teaching
  6. Team teaching

Co-teachers plan and prepare as a team, analyze student products collaboratively, evaluate the effectiveness of strategies used, and plan next steps (Scruggs, Mastropieri, & McDuffie 2007).

Multi-level teaching is an approach that allows students to learn at their own level while grouped heterogeneously. Students learn together and work individually using instructional materials that challenge them at their present ability level and extends the learning for students who have exceeded the learning target. The focus is on student needs and the curriculum is designed to meet all learners needs. Project and inquiry-based learning allow for multi-level engagement and a strengthened sense of belonging.

Teachers, as professionals, use a range of instructional strategies and models. To provide all students with access to quality instruction, educators should ask the following questions when designing learning opportunities:

  • What are different methods to effectively present content and information?
  • How does the task promote student voice, stimulate interest, and provide multiple ways for the student to engage in the learning?
  • How does the task differentiate the ways that students can convey what they know?