Cambridge : Harvard Education Press. Authentic, engaging tasks with real-world connections motivate student effort and engagement, which is supported through teacher scaffolding and a wide range of tools that allow for personalized learning and student agency. Other scaffolds—such as the charts reminding students of their learning processes and key concepts—support self-regulation and strategic learning while reducing cognitive load, in order to facilitate higher order thinking and performance skills.
These also enable student self-assessment, as well as peer and teacher feedback that is part of an ongoing formative assessment process. Routines for reflection on and revision of work support the development of metacognition and a growth mindset. All students feel they belong in this room, where they are learning to become responsible community members, critical thinkers, and problem solvers together. A range of culturally connected curriculum units and materials supports that sense of inclusion, while a wide array of school supports reinforces that inclusion by addressing student and family needs in multiple ways while including families as partners in the educational process.
Strong relationships have biological as well as affective significance. Brain architecture is developed by the presence of warm, consistent, attuned relationships; positive experiences; and positive perceptions of these experiences Center on the Developing Child, Center on the Developing Child. From best practices to breakthrough impacts: A science-based approach to building a more promising future for young children and families.
Such relationships help develop the emotional, social, behavioral and cognitive competencies foundational to learning. Students need a sense of physical and psychological safety for learning to occur, since fear and anxiety undermine cognitive capacity and short circuit the learning process. A meta-analysis of 99 studies found that the affective quality of teacher-student relationships was significantly related to student engagement average effect sizes of.
Review of Educational Research, 81 4 , — Positive adult relationships can support student development and welfare, especially when these are culturally sensitive and responsive Hammond, Hammond, Z. Culturally responsive teaching and the brain: Promoting authentic engagement and rigor among culturally and linguistically diverse students. Thousand Oaks, CA : Corwin. Identity safe classrooms: Places to belong and learn. London, UK : Corwin Press. This is especially important given the societal and school-based aggressions many children, especially those living under adverse conditions, experience.
For all these reasons, and because children develop through individual trajectories shaped by their unique traits and experiences, teachers need to know students well to create productive learning opportunities. These insights from the science of learning and development suggest the following principles for practice in this domain, which we discuss further below: School and classroom structures should be designed to create and support strong attachments and positive, long-term relationships among adults and children that provide both academic and social-emotional support for cultivating developmentally-appropriate skills, emotional security, resilience, and student agency.
School practices should be designed to strengthen relational trust and promote cultural competence among educators, school staff, and families to provide deeper knowledge regarding children and greater alignment between the home and school. Personalizing the educational setting so that students can be well-known by adults and their needs can be better met is a powerful lever that can change student outcomes. While this kind of personalization may sometimes include uses of technology, that is not its main goal or only tool.
As we detail in this section, smaller learning environments and structures that allow for stronger, adult-child relationships can improve attendance, attachment, achievement, and attainment.
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Often, it is because of close adult-student relationships that students who are placed at risk for a variety of negative outcomes like dropping out are able to attach to school and gain the academic and other kinds of help they need to succeed. Student-centered schools: Closing the opportunity gap. The organization of effective secondary schools. Review of Research in Education, 19 , — The one best system: A history of American urban education Vol. These schools were not designed based on knowledge of how people learn and develop optimally.
Unlike schools in many countries, where teachers often stay with their students for two or three years in primary school and have more extended relationships in secondary school, U. This reduces the extent to which teachers can build on personal knowledge in meeting their needs. Handbook of adolescent psychology. New York : Wiley Publishing. Focus on the wonder years: Challenges facing the American middle school. Rand Corporation.
The design of most U. Depersonalized contexts are most damaging when students are also experiencing the effects of poverty, trauma, and discrimination without supports to enable them to cope and become resilient. Building conditions for learning and healthy adolescent development: Strategic approaches. Doll , W. Yoon Eds. New York : Routledge.
Interdependent Development (Routledge Library Editions: Development)
Ecological changes that create personalized environments with opportunities for stronger relationships among adults and students can create more productive contexts for learning. Can small high schools of choice improve educational prospects for disadvantaged students? Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 33 2 , — High school size, organization, and content: What matters for student success?
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Brookings papers on education policy, 9 , — Educational Psychologist, 42 4 , — School Size. These settings include smaller schools as well as small learning communities created within large school buildings, where staff and students work in together in smaller units that function as close-knit communities. Optimum size varies by student needs and school design, with high school sizes below having been found more conducive to student success than larger schools, all else equal. Many studies in high-poverty urban areas have found strong improvements in student outcomes in small schools.
Small schools: Great strides, A study of new small schools in Chicago. Personalizing Structures. Small size alone is not enough to produce these effects, however.
For example, in a study of high schools, Lee and Smith, Lee, V. Effects of high school restructuring and size on early gains in achievement and engagement. Sociology of Education, 68 4 , — Similarly, in a set of studies of redesigned schools, including randomized controlled trials, quasi-experiments, and case studies, Felner and colleagues found that small learning communities stimulate positive outcomes for students, with the greatest benefits in larger schools with more students from high risk backgrounds.
In effective advisory systems , each teacher advises and serves as an advocate for a small group of students usually 15—20 over two to four years. Teachers facilitate an advisory class that meets regularly to support academic progress, teach social-emotional skills and strategies, and create a community of students who support one another. In a distributed counseling function, advisors support students on academic and nonacademic issues that arise and serve a point person with other faculty teaching the same student.
The advisor functions as a bridge between student, school, and home so that students are provided the supports they need in a coherent way that allows them to navigate school in a productive and positive manner. Each teacher sees half as many students, and students see fewer teachers. This smaller pupil load allows teachers to provide more attention to each student and to engage in more in-depth teaching practices. Block scheduling in the high school.
Researchers digest. This structure allows teachers to share their knowledge about students in planning curriculum to meet student needs, while creating more continuity in practices and norms, which supports students emotionally and cognitively. As the authors note:.
Effective interdisciplinary teaming reduces the levels of developmental hazard in educational settings by creating contexts that are experientially more navigable, coherent, and predictable for students. Interdiscipinary teaming can also create enhanced capacity in schools for transformed instruction through enabling the coordination and integration of the work of teachers with each other, including in instruction, and as ongoing sources of professional development and support for each other p.
School size in Chicago elementary schools: Effects on teachers' attitudes and students' achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 37 1 , 3 — To accomplish this, schools need structures and practices that allow staff to develop collective expertise about their students as well as to develop trust with them.
Continuity of relationships is a key principle in this regard, especially important for children who have minimal continuity outside of school.
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Strategies found effective in this regard include looping from grade to grade, and longer grade spans at the school level. These organizational designs create sustained relationships, reduce cognitive load and anxiety for students when they do not need to learn new systems and reestablish their identity, and expand learning time because staff carry their knowledge about students and families forward from year to year.
Looping , through which teachers stay with the same students for more than one year, can occur when teachers teach the same students in fourth and fifth grade, for example, or when a secondary teacher has the same students for 9 th and 10 th grade English. Reinventing high school: Outcomes of the coalition campus schools project. American Educational Research Journal, 39 3 , — The strong relationships and deep knowledge of student learning supported by these longer relationships between adults and children can substantially improve achievement, especially for lower-achieving students Bogart, Bogart, V.
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The effects of looping on the academic achievement of elementary school students. East Tennessee State University. Enhancing urban student achievement through family-oriented school practices. Education Research Service. Phi Delta Kappan, 77 5 , — EJ Grouping students in the middle school. In The exemplary middle school 2nd ed.
Orlando, FL : Harcourt Brace. Teachers in such settings report a heightened sense of efficacy, while parents report feeling more respected and more comfortable reaching out to the school for assistance. Reducing class sizes can also help personalize instruction. Meta-analysis of class size and achievement.