We like to think about instruction as consisting of four layers. At the top, there is the Professional Practices Framework (a.k.a. State Teacher Evaluation Criteria) that guides the teacher evaluation process. In addition, there are three other layers of instructional focus: the Instructional Framework layer, the Instructional Model layer, and the Instructional Strategies layer. All four layers of instructional support should be designed to complement each other; they are not mutually exclusive. For example, just because you've selected one of the three professional practices frameworks (Danielson, Marzano, or 5D+) to implement in your district, does not mean you would not also adopt supportive instructional models (GLAD, AVID, SIOP, etc.) or strategies (essential questions, higher order thinking, etc.). Now, let's dive into each of these layers.
Professional Practices Framework
The instructional framework has no agenda and does not suggest a sequence of strategies. It is merely a way of conceptualizing effective practices.
Many districts adopt multiple instructional models, and teachers often wonder if the district is changing direction because of a new adoption. In reality, a district can support many different instructional models as long as they are aligned with and can be cross-walked to their instructional framework. For example, if a district adopted GLAD strategies and provided training for teachers that included the popular “10-2” strategy, teachers would be encouraged to let students reflect for two minutes for every ten minutes of instruction. Adopting this model is not a new direction for the district, presumably, and if the model is important it should be able to be tracked to the instructional framework. For example, the GLAD strategies just mentioned could be cross-walked to STAR Strategies f and g (periodic grouping with peers) in Indicator 14 (Relationships). This, in turn, is also connected to the professional practices framework and the state criteria. Many teachers become sarcastic and discouraged when districts introduce new instructional models or strategies at the beginning of each school year; however, if these models or strategies were cross-walked with their instructional framework, educators would see the ongoing connection between the models and their work.
To wrap up, all four layers of instructional support are important; they are not mutually exclusive; and they complement each other. It's also very important to recognize that we are not trying to choose between these layers, but actually trying to make sure that all four layers are aligned in order to maximize the effectiveness of a comprehensive strategy around instructional support.
Explore the differences between a professional practices framework and an instructional framework.