If you have read my fellow eGrowe coach, Robyn Scott’s, blog post on “Using the School Design Framework as the One Thing” you already understand how the engage2Learn Blended Framework incorporates the facilitation of 21st Century Life Ready Skills as well as best practices in teaching to promote student’s inquiry, critical thinking, growth and yes, even test scores.
However, you still are wondering what it is like to be a teacher learning, growing and facilitating through the e2L Blended Framework. As a former educator, who had the opportunity to practice my growth mindset by stepping out of my comfort zone and implementing the framework, I can tell you that it is challenging but in the best way. You will try. You will fail. You will try again (but always with support from a coach). Moreover, eventually, you WILL succeed. As teachers, we know that when challenged we are growing and modeling the power of growth mindset.As teachers, we know that when challenged we are growing and modeling the power of growth mindset. Click To Tweet
The success will come in many forms. Your students will become more autonomous. You will have the opportunity to become a genuine facilitator of knowledge rather than having the immense stress of being the sole provider of information and the one resource available to students. Those precious hours, minutes and seconds in class will be spent helping students discover the power of learning. As the e2L framework takes students out of their comfort zone as well, you will see their appreciation of your trust and empowerment.
Don’t just take it from me! I asked a core content secondary science teacher in Mansfield ISD, Lindsey Tashman, to share her experiences teaching through the e2L Blended Framework. I also spoke to Merkel ISD art teacher, Taylor Beam, in order to gain insight from an elective teacher perspective.
Mind-Shift: Making the Move Towards a Student-Centered Classroom
The challenges that I faced involved the transition for myself and my students to a different learning model. For me, I have had the most challenge with planning for the end goal of a unit in advance. I think the end goal is the thing that should drive the entire unit from the name to the DIYs and workshops. That planning of the end-product and the pre-planning of activities can be overwhelming at first, but the end result for my students’ data and engagement wise makes it worth it. For my students, they were hesitant at first about the framework. They were used to learning with teacher directed and driven activities. Once they embraced that it was okay to make mistakes as long as you grow it became much less of a challenge for us. -Lindsey Tashman, Science
As a first year teacher, I was given the task of implementing the e2L blended framework in my classroom along with multiple teachers on my campus. I built my instructional style off of the framework/protocols and worked to find ways to build my curriculum with it. The challenges came while trying to uphold the integrity of the framework and traditional art instruction. In response to this, I began to build the connections between the art-making process and the e2l framework to make moving through the protocols more seamless. Once I realized I had the freedom to make those shifts and connections while still upholding to the learning process/goals, it was awesome! -Taylor Beam, Art
Implementation of the e2L Blended Learning Framework and Coaching Support
The on-going coaching was beneficial in having a thought partner that was there for me with a new perspective on how to implement more engaging learning. I think that people have the tendency to get bogged down in what is going on around them and they forget to take a step back from their work to see what is going on. Coaching also helped me be able to share new ideas for implementing best practices with someone. I always left the coaching sessions with new ideas and perspectives on practices I could implement in my class. -Lindsey Tashman, Science
By having a coach available, my teaching, classroom, and students greatly benefited. I felt the freedom to try new things because I knew I would have a coach to help me process, reflect, and improve. As a creative type, I always appreciate a good brainstorming session and constructive feedback – I got BOTH of these on a regular basis through the ongoing support of my coaches. My units and classroom were much better and much more engaging because of this. -Taylor Beam, Art
Student Ownership and Classroom Culture
My students were hesitant to learn through the framework at first, but after they saw that I believed in it, they started putting their trust in the process the learning model presents. I found that my students became more vocal about their needs and that they began building a community of helping and growing instead of competition and this made the classroom culture stronger and more collaborative which led to a deeper level of engagement and learning. My students also began having more confidence in assessments and overall higher scores when compared to past classes with the e2L learning model. -Lindsey Tashman, Science
The first thing I saw was students taking ownership of their learning and art-making processes. I truly became a facilitator. The work they were doing was not centered around my own ideas or “recipes” of projects I created. Each students’ voice and style came to surface quickly! Through this, a sense of confidence became apparent in each student. Creativity was celebrated more than the way artworks “looked” and feedback/critique because of a natural part of our day to day interactions. -Taylor Beam, Art
Teaching with the End Result in Mind
Trust yourself and your students! Click To Tweet
Though the framework can be overwhelming at first, the end result makes it all worth it. I would also tell anyone implementing the framework that it is okay not to be meeting expectations before beginning. That it is okay to not meet every standard I have for yourself, but if you are growing and trying new things in the classroom you are making progress. Small changes can lead to large rewards as long as you keep making those small changes. -Lindsey Tashman, Science
Trust yourself and your students! Don’t be afraid if something doesn’t work out the first time. Also, build your classroom structures and procedures around the framework. Make it part of your classroom DNA – your students will buy-in if this is apparent! – Taylor Beam, Art
If you find yourself wondering where to begin your journey of growth or how to start implementing the e2L Blended Learning Framework, remember these points:
- On-going coaching support allows for a thought partner to help you navigate the framework.
- Growth mindset is key! Modeling it, embracing it, and teaching it to students will make a world of difference.
- Letting go of control is okay! All you need are systems in place to allow students to thrive and take ownership of their classroom experience. And your coach will help you develop that culture.
- Feedback and reflection make us all better.
- Making connections, sharing ideas, and collaborating can make all of the difference. See below for information on how to find a community of innovative educators ready to help!
Want to see more of the e2L Blended Learning Framework in action? Follow us on Twitter at engage_learning or the hashtag #engage2learn to see photos, read about innovative classrooms, and witness the power of coaching for yourself!
Follow me, Samantha Parker, on Twitter: @SamParkerEdu
Follow Lindsey Tashman on Twitter: @TashmanEdu
Follow Taylor Beam on Twitter: @TaylorABeam