Greater Context Adds Value and Clarity to Teaching

April 5, 2022

By The Danielson Group Team

In 1996, when Charlotte Danielson first published the Framework for Teaching, Bill Clinton was re-elected President of the United States; the average gas price was $1.71 per gallon; and Major League Soccer had its inaugural season. Since then, our world has adapted to the presence of social media, artificial intelligence, increased social activism, tragic school shootings, and most recently, the global COVID-19 pandemic. Educators have always been responsible for creating a supportive classroom for kids to flourish academically. However, teachers are now increasingly responsible for their students’ physical safety from threats, adherence to public health protocols, and their mental health. That incredible effort runs concurrently to the creation of a safe, nurturing, and inclusive environment for all students regardless of their background or individual needs.

While the pandemic forced educators, students, and families to adjust to distance learning with little preparation, it also gave us an opportunity to reimagine what school could look like. With great challenges come great opportunities. As educators are figuring out their new normal, one of education’s most beloved resources will now reflect the realities of teaching in this new era.

The Danielson Group has harnessed the wisdom of educators to update the Framework for Teaching. This updated Framework will reflect what we now know to be true: a student’s academic outcomes are dependent on more than just curriculum and teacher techniques. Greater prioritization of creating welcoming and inclusive classrooms, increased awareness of social-emotional learning, and reinforcing the importance of teaching authentically to the unique needs of different school communities are tantamount to a child’s academic development:

Greater prioritization of creating welcoming and inclusive classrooms means that all students are included and reflected in teaching materials. Moreover, students’ identities are celebrated and embraced – they are empowered to be successful as their most authentic selves.

Increased awareness of social-emotional learning as integral to academic development ensures that educators are equipped to support students’ well-being and social-emotional needs. These are essential building blocks to academic development that must be explicitly prioritized and enmeshed within the instructional process.

Reinforcing the importance of context empowers educators to teach authentically. The updated Framework meets the unique needs of different school communities and teaching styles. Educators have the flexibility to identify teaching strategies that are aligned with their classroom and unique learning community.

Additionally, we have reinforced the importance of focus. The updated Framework will help school leaders and educators narrow their approach even through unprecedented amounts of uncertainty. These critical and timely updates pair alongside our passion for supporting school districts, leaders, and educators with professional learning in both the short- and long-term.

The Framework for Teaching was published in 1996 to promote clear and meaningful conversations about effective teaching practices. Today, that conversation continues in a more meaningful, contextually relevant, and nuanced way – improving the tool that millions of educators worldwide have used. The updates reflect the voices of esteemed educators in the field, the vision and mission of the Danielson Group, and the original intent of Charlotte Danielson.

Our teachers need support. If we see a dissonance between student outcomes and the observation feedback teachers are getting, we need to combat it with professional learning. We need to emphasize equipping all educators to fully support a child’s academic development helps ensure a brighter future for us all. The original beloved teaching tool allowed us to work with over 1,500 organizations in 49 states and US territories and 15 other countries. Breathing new life and best practices into the updated Framework for Teaching will bring the world a bolder vision of instructional excellence.