Note: this post is part of a series about Noble’s preparation for the upcoming school year.
In 2018, Noble teachers, instructional leaders, and Academics team members came together to define what excellent instruction looks like at Noble. After debate and discussion, classroom visits and data analysis they arrived at a framework called The Noble Classroom (TNC for short). It includes the tenets of Safe & Supported, Standards Based & Data Informed, Invested, Empowered, Culturally Responsive & Sustaining Teaching, Cognitive Lift, Quality Response, and Intentional Time. (view the whole TNC framework here)
Director of Academics
Over the past year, all instructional professional development has been tied to The Noble Classroom framework; all quarterly collaboration days and campus PD has been linked to improving in one domain or another.
But how does that translate to a new, virtual world of remote instruction? We sat down with Noble’s director of Academics, Christina Ginardi to learn more.
MM: Thank you for making the time to talk about the Noble classroom. When things transitioned to remote in the spring how did that adjust how Noble teachers were thinking about instruction?
A: We have incredible teachers at Noble, full stop. So when we transitioned to remote, we knew that they would be hungry to innovate and find ways to translate their rigorous academic and warm supportive classroom cultures to a digital space. We also knew we needed to support that transition. We took time to research best practices (both inside and outside of Noble) and developed the “Remote” Noble Classroom framework which we released in early June 2020.
MM: The Remote Noble classroom, can you share a bit more, what did this include?
A: Sure, we started with three guiding principles to ground our approach. First was that Noble would prioritize asynchronous [access anytime] learning and provide optional synchronous [live] learning opportunities for our students. We think this is, at its core, an equity issue. Some students have sibling childcare responsibilities or jobs or internet challenges so it was important to prioritize asynchronous learning. We are also living in the midst of a pandemic that has affected access for our students and families. Prioritizing asynchronous learning allowed for the most flexibility for our students and families while maintaining a high bar for access to rigorous instruction.
Second, the idea that student engagement stems from relevance and clarity. Students will engage in work that is clear and directly relevant to and honors their lived experiences. Third, the concept of learning acceleration is essential to instructional planning. Students need to experience grade-level work while ensuring we cover concepts that may have been missed last spring.
From there we worked to translate the Noble Classroom tenets teachers were already familiar with (connected, empowered, safe and supported, cognitive lift, etc.) and tried to provide resources to help the transition of those practices to a remote context – so concrete tips on the set up of the digital learning space, suggestions for fostering online student culture, suggestions for adjustments to data analysis and planning and more.
(editor’s note: you can view the entire Remote Noble Classroom framework here)
MM: With so much uncertainty about remote instruction how will we know what great teaching looks like?
A: That’s a good question, the truth is that this is new for almost everyone and we’re going to figure it out together. In addition to the Remote Noble Classroom for teachers, we’ve created structures for instructional coaches to guide conversations around best practices in remote learning. We’re going to lean on feedback from our students and from teachers and parents to help guide that improvement.
We also have a set of recognized excellent teachers at Noble – our Distinguished Teachers – and so we will certainly lean on them to pioneer new approaches and to lead the way with best practices so we can share. And then, each quarter we’ll continue to come together as all-Noble for professional development that is almost all teacher-led, and teachers will share best practices in those spaces as well.
MM: Thank you and good luck this year!
See the video about Noble’s Distinguished Teacher program below.
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