THE FRAMEWORK FOR TEACHING: INTELLECTUAL ENGAGEMENT

The Framework for Teaching: Intellectual Engagement Guide and its approach are informed by our conversations with educators, our experience as an organization, and what we’ve learned from our partners. We provide here our current thinking, recommendations for reflection and practice, and suggestions for professional learning on the topic of intellectually engaging instruction.
IE Resources

A Guide To Support Intellectual Engagement

Observation ToolIn our pursuit of excellent teaching for every student, we are consistently guided by our foundational beliefs about learning and our values as educators, which are reflected in the Framework for Teaching (FFT) developed by Charlotte Danielson. The Framework for Teaching: Intellectual Engagement Guide and its approach are informed by our conversations with educators, our experience as an organization, and what we’ve learned from our partners. We provide here our current thinking, recommendations for reflection and practice, and suggestions for professional learning on the topic of intellectually engaging instruction. Recent events have focused more attention on systemic racism in our systems of education and our practices as a field, which many scholars and educators have long been working to dismantle. COVID-19 forced us into the type of personalized, 21st-century learning that many have long championed. With this richer context, we have an opportunity to create even more intellectually engaging and just learning environments that support student autonomy, a sense of belonging, and success.

An equity imperative has always been implicit in the FFT. As Charlotte Danielson wrote, “A commitment to excellence is not complete without a commitment to equity” (2007). In this guide, and in all of our work moving forward, we will make this imperative explicit and be unapologetic in our commitment to racial justice. As an organization, we must acknowledge that our approaches have allowed inequitable systems and unsupportive learning environments to go unchecked for too long. Promoting excellence means not only that we focus on best practices and encourage ongoing teacher learning and development, but it also means that we prioritize understanding how classroom practice does or does not center equity and justice - particularly as systemic racism continues to pose an ominous threat to communities of color. Good teaching cannot be blind to issues of racial justice. Excellence for some is not excellence at all. As we note in the FFT, teachers are responsible for the learning and development of students, which requires students’ active, intellectual engagement in learning experiences. When teachers arrange for ambitious instruction with each of their students in mind and cultivate safe, supportive, and challenging learning environments, the conditions exist for this type of engagement to occur.

We are excited to further explore the heart of the Framework by focusing on “3c: Engaging Students in Learning” and the other components that we believe most directly support it. Student Intellectual Engagement is indeed at the heart of good teaching; it is often the first item educators identify when describing the classroom environment and learning experiences of a teacher whom they consider an expert. However, engagement does not have a single, or simple, definition. It is also important to remember that when students are immersed in intellectually engaging work it does not always appear tidy; when students are wrestling with a new concept or making connections between new content and previously learned material, they are likely to have a few false starts and hit some rough patches. It’s challenging for some teachers to allow their students to engage in this productive struggle, but ultimately, research has shown that pushing through the struggle to success is satisfying to students, empowering them as learners, and solidifying their understanding of their new learning.


Download A Digital Version Of The Framework for Teaching: Intellectual Engagement Guide 
Purchase A Print Version Of The Framework for Teaching: Intellectual Engagement Guide 


Intellectual Engagement Companion Tools
 

Observation Tool

Intellectual Engagement Self-Assessment and Reflection Tool 

The Self-Assessment and Reflection tool can be used in multiple ways and for a variety of purposes.

  • As an opportunity for individual teachers to reflect on their practice by focusing on one, or all eight, of these critical components.
  • By grade level and/or department teams, or an entire staff to gauge how teachers are doing and where support might be needed.
  • As a way to gauge teacher growth and progress from a beginning point to an end-point (and along the way), whether it’s the beginning/end of the year, or as a readiness indicator at the launch of an inquiry cycle.

However this tool is used, the intent should always be to promote reflection, improvement, and support.

Download A Digital Version Of The Self Assessment and Reflection Tool
Purchase A Print Version Of The Self Assessment and Reflection Tool

 

 

 

 

Observation Tool

Intellectual Engagement Observation Tool
 

The Observation Tool can be used in conjunction with the Self-Assessment and Reflection Tool for a variety of purposes, including: 

  1. As an opportunity for an observer to work with individual teachers to reflect on their practice by focusing on one, or all eight, of these critical components.
  2. By grade level and/or department teams, or an entire staff to gauge how teachers are doing and where support might be needed.
  3. As a way to gauge teacher growth and progress from a beginning point to an end-point (and along the way), whether it’s the beginning/end of year, or as a readiness indicator at the launch of an inquiry cycle.

However this tool is used, the intent should always be to promote reflection, improvement, and support.


Download A Digital Version Of The Observation Tool 
Purchase A Print Version Of The Observation Tool  

 


 

Coming Soon: Professional Learning Communities (PLC) Blended and Asynchronous Courses 

Creating an Effective Professional Learning Environment: A Step-by-Step Guide is designed for teachers and school leaders who are interested in learning how to implement and sustain high-functioning Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) that are aligned to a vision of instructional excellence. This course not only discusses the mechanics of effective PLCs by leading participants through a step-by-step process that can be tailored to their own context, but it also pushes them to reflect on how PLCs are situated within a greater Professional Learning System and a culture that supports it.

To lay the groundwork for this course, participants will complete three asynchronous mini-modules on these topics: The Danielson Group’s approach to professional learning systems, how Professional Learning Communities fit into this overall system, and the purpose and structure of Professional Learning Communities. Participants will also be introduced to the Framework for Teaching Clusters, which is the anchor text we will use throughout this course. The second part of this course includes two facilitated synchronous sessions with asynchronous practice between them. The course content comes to life with multiple examples of PLCs in action and provides participants with real life practice, application opportunities, and the ability to give and receive feedback. 

Certificate for 10 hours
Cost of course: $225