DESIGNING AN EDUCATIONAL FRAMEWORK
If creating a cohesive teaching and learning culture at your school is your goal, developing and implementing an Educational Framework is the ideal solution! We have outlined a simple process for designing your own customized framework, but before proceeding it is important for you to understand exactly what an Educational Framework is. See
What is an Educational Framework?
A Vision vs. an Educational Framework
The Tool Successful Companies Use That Schools Need
Now that you are clear on what you are designing and why, let’s move on to the steps for developing an Educational Framework:
1. Know Your Vision, Know Your Staff
The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. If your vision isn’t well-defined and clearly thought out, the framework you create will not function – gaps will exist, and the cohesion you are looking for will not transpire. The same goes for knowing your staff; it is essential that you are aware of each individual’s needs and how the curriculums they teach connect.
2. Eliminate the Educational Jargon
Your school’s vision and mission statement may be filled with flowery jargon, buzz words and buzz phrases, however the success of your Educational Framework rests on your ability to cut through all the fluff and shiny red apples, and zone into exactly what it is you wish to achieve in the most basic of terms – black and white – no shades of grey. Let’s use the Language Framework I designed for the Netherlands Inter-community School (NIS) as an example. As with any school, NIS had its vision written with beautiful words meant to inspire, but if you stripped its objectives to the core, it all came down to four elements at the Primary School:
Before you map out our framework, you need to look past all the fluff and the imagery used in your mission statement, philosophies, etc. and sum your vision up in the most concise and action-based terms you possibly can so there is no room for misinterpretation.
3. Make Strong Connections
The next step in the process is forming the connections. Imagine each element you are playing with is a popsicle stick, and your objective is to glue every piece together so that by the time you are finished, you have a strong and unbreakable structure. In order to do this, you will need to first sketch a diagram so you have a clear outline before creating the glue (the individualized planners) as shown below:
Imagine the white boxes in the above diagram represent the skeleton of the detailed planners that will be designed and how they will connect. The layout has been specifically designed to allow for NIS’s four main objectives to be achieved:
The above design was specifically tailored to NIS’s needs, the design for your school may take on an entirely different look and shape like the sample below:
4. Create the Planners
As mentioned, the individualized planners are the glue that will bind the pieces of your framework together, and the diagram below is the detailed and completed version of the Language Framework that was implemented at NIS.
If you were to take a closer look at the long-range unit planners below, they mimic the original framework’s sketch, and the columns and rows were specifically arranged so that the school’s objectives could be met.
The planners may seem as if they are complicated to design, but if you follow the ordered train of thought in your Educational Framework, they will have a logical flow. If you are unable to design the planners so they support your framework, you may need to go back and rethink its model and look for gaps and places where your arrangement doesn’t match your vision.
Planners are fun to play with, and the layout and possibilities for column and row arrangements are endless. Planners can be attached together in multiple ways, can be designed to accommodate split-level and multi-level classes etc., and as long as they support your framework it’s all good. For different planning solutions and ideas, see the following articles:
The Jigsaw Method
The Symbiotic Method
Different Planning Solutions for Your School
Determining the Best Planning Solutions for Your School
A Planning Template for Multi-Level Modern Foreign Language (MFL) Classes
A Planning Template for Passion-Based Learning
5. The Implementation
Once your framework and planners have been designed, it’s time to share them with staff. Consider creating a handbook for staff to reference once you have unveiled your plan of action. Remember that it will take time for your staff to adjust to this new method of planning, but after a few months of practice you should start seeing results as staff come together towards realizing your common school vision.
Looking for inspiration on how to share your newly created plan of action with staff? See
Creative Ways to Share an Educational Framework.
Wanting ideas to enhance the impact your Educational Framework will make? Check out the following articles:
The Impact of a School's Timetable
Elevating Your School's End Game
Linking After-School Activities and Programs to School Curriculums
6. Your Cohesive Teaching and Learning Culture
Now it’s time to step back and take stock of the changes you will witness at your school. If you have structured your framework and planners properly, your staff will begin to form a unified teaching unit and the cohesive teaching culture you were hoping for will transpire! That being said, although your framework design will remain relatively constant, planners should be revised and modified on a yearly basis to ensure professional growth and to meet the ever-changing needs of your school. Interested in learning more about modifying planners? See the following articles:
Using Planners to Change Mindset
Using Planners as a Tool for Mentoring Teachers
If you are looking to take on the challenge of designing an Educational Framework for your school but feel you might need extra support and guidance, contact us. We are more than happy to assist in training your team on framework design and implementation!
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