Teachers as Architects of Learning

Concurrent Session 5
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

In this session, attendees will explore how their beliefs and experiences impact their instructional design and discover the implications of this to their impact as educators. They will learn how twelve practical, evidence-based learning constructs can become the catalyst for identifying their instructional "growth edge," increasing their students' learning.


Jill works as a curriculum, instruction, and technology support specialist for teachers and administrators in Ohio in the US. She has served in this role for 10 years with previous experience teaching kindergarten through third grades. Jill provides curricular, instructional, and technology support to all K-12 teachers and administrators in the district. She designs and facilitates professional learning opportunities, supports various working groups as both a group member and facilitator, and coaches colleagues.   Jill is also an Adaptive Schools Training Associate and employs knowledge and skills from that body of work and Cognitive Coaching to support groups and individuals in school improvement efforts, standards and curriculum analysis, and professional growth. She is passionate about supporting educators in becoming resourceful, self-directed learners committed to providing equitable education to all children. Jill has a B.S. in Education in Early Childhood Education from the University of Toledo and a Master in Education in Educational Leadership from Wright State University.

Extended Abstract

Developing teaching practice sits at the center of most school improvement plans and as part of this so is the need for utilizing an approach that is respectful, professional and ultimately impactful on learning. Teachers as Architects of Learning spans the last ten years of research and application and is an international collaboration. 

In an education age where neuro-science and effect-size rules supreme it is more important than ever that we don’t view or treat teaching as an exact science. It isn’t and never will be. Why? Because the transactional process of learning and teaching is between human beings. As Dr. Robert Marzano highlights in his important research on instruction there is both a science and art to it.   

The goals of Teachers as Architects is three-fold. We advocate for teaching decisions to first and foremost be based on the impact it will have on learning (both for the student and the teacher). Secondly, we want teachers to be the chief decision makers in the development of their own practice, embracing the emerging research and thinking from our field and combining it with the contextual fabric of their professional lives. Lastly, we support teachers to be researchers of their teaching identity. Self-exploration of who they are as teachers, not just what skills and strategies might be best for their students and themselves.   

Teachers as Architects provide teachers with the opportunity to dig deeper into who they are as teachers and gain greater clarity about what approaches to learning might assist their growth. We take the position that all teachers are essentially architects of the learning experience. Regardless of what context teachers work in (including the virtual one), they share the common responsibility for ensuring they create a learning experience where learning can thrive. Learning architects are aware of the constructs required to create this successful learning experience for students. They deliberately apply specific teaching approaches to their evolving teaching architecture. Specifically, we introduce twelve constructs and associated strategies teachers consider as they decide what’s best for their instructional context.  

Participant Engagement 

Attendees will be taken through a process of self reflection.  As part of the process they will be asked to consider their instructional design practices and how they relate to their identity as a teacher.  This will involve the use of a ‘Metaphorical Mirror’ to connect their identity as an educator to the content of the session.  They will explicitly identify through this active process the possibilities for their professional practice.  

The Take-aways 

  • Understanding of how their beliefs about learning can strengthen their practice

  • A focus for deliberate practice through examining 12 learning constructs

  • Increased self-awareness on how learning theory influences how we teach 

  • Practical, evidence-based strategies for immediate use with learners in the virtual environment