The STAR Framework for Powerful Teaching and Learning is an instructional framework that organizes the indicators of Powerful Teaching and Learning into an understandable construct. Educators use the STAR Framework to guide their practices - instructional strategies and pedagogical habits - that improve their effectiveness and help all students learn.
A clear and common definition of effective teaching and learning is critical to learning how to change instructional practice. Both brain-related and school-related research findings point to common elements of student experience that correlate with higher achievement scores.
These elements are identified in the STAR Framework as Essential Components of Powerful Teaching and Learning. Using the STAR Framework as a tool to improve pedagogy, educators first internalize the philosophy of Powerful Teaching and Learning and learn to recognize its components in classroom practice, before considering specific classroom strategies. There are five Essential Components: Skills, Knowledge, Thinking, Application, and Relationships.
Essential Components of Powerful Teaching and Learning
You will notice that the STAR Framework is titled with a four-part acronym, although it is comprised from five Essential Components. The “S” in the STAR Framework encompasses both the Skills and Knowledge necessary to acquire or express conceptual understanding. When using the STAR Protocol as a data-collection research instrument we look for Skills and/or Knowledge in the classroom. The overall Powerful Teaching and Learning score is not impacted if we only see one or the other during a 30-minute research observation because some lessons are knowledge-focused and some are skills-focused. Therefore, during the development of the STAR as a research tool, we combined the two (S/k). When the STAR Framework is used to organize Powerful Teaching and Learning for professional development and lesson planning, however, Knowledge appears as a separate Essential Component, with its own Indicators (SkTAR). In essence, the “K” is silent in STAR. Of course you have probably noticed the “K” is silent in “knowledge” as well, so we follow a well-established precedent.
Indicators and Strategies of Powerful Teaching and Learning
Each of the five Essential Components is manifested through a set of three Indicators. Indicators describe what each Essential Component looks like in practice, so that participants can recognize when each is or is not present. One Indicator in each set focuses on teacher planning and behaviors; the other two Indicators focus on student behaviors that demonstrate learning. This structure illustrates that the STAR is a Framework for the reciprocal process of teaching and learning, distinct in nature from a teacher-centered instructional framework. The 15 Indicators help educators organize their thinking and language around Powerful Teaching and Learning and select strategies that support learning goals.
The STAR Framework for Powerful Teaching and Learning
Combining the Indicators and their Strategies with the Essential Components creates the STAR Framework.