Approaches to Teaching & Learning

Six Approaches to Teaching

#1 Inquiry

  • Teaching is based on inquiry
    • Developing student’s natural curiosity
    • Developing their abilities to autonomous lifelong learners
    • Active engagement in their own learning
    • Constructing their own understanding of interpretation and issues
      • Through comprehension, analysis, interpretation, and contextualization
      • Activating curiosity
  • Application
    • Students developing a line of inquiry
    • Student choice in developing and choosing tasks
    • Encouraging students creative expression (written, oral, and visual)
    • Developing research skills on group and individual areas of interest
    • Using problem-solving approaches to find connections between texts and critical perspectives

#2 Concepts

  • Teaching is based on concepts
    • Exploring concepts helps student to engage in complex issues for higher level thinking
    • Moving from concrete to abstract thinking to understand new contexts
    • Focus on seven concepts: identity, culture, creativity, communication, representation, transformation, and perspective
  • Application
    • Close readings of texts to explore conceptual ideas
    • Understanding the rhetorical situation of format, purpose, audience, and context
    • Transforming and modernizing texts to understand the concept of intertextuality between genres and texts
    • Understanding text features and how they play into representation of ideas

#3 Global Contexts

  • Teaching is based on global context
    • Contextualized teaching allows students to see between ideas and local and global ideas in order to develop international-mindedness
    • Analyzing audience, purpose, and literary form allow students to see how texts are produced and consumed and how they are interpreted


    • Bringing the outside world into schools
    • Drawing on student’s backgrounds, experiences in contrast with other cultures
    • Including creative and cross-curricular connections
    • Providing students with cultural-frameworks in order to connect to texts

#4 Collaboration

  • Learning is based on collaboration
    • Shared learning allows for a complex interaction of minds within different specific contexts
    • Language by its very nature involves interaction to create meaning in how they are produced and received


    • Activities designed to encourage interaction and negotiation of meaning with texts
    • Literary circles, Socratic seminars, discussion techniques can allow for students to foster opinions together
    • Allowing students freedom to choose lines of inquiry and assessments

#5 Differentiation

  • Teaching is based on differentiation
    • Accommodating the different ways students learn in order to build on self-esteem, value prior knowledge, and scaffold and extend learning
    • Student choice in texts, activities, and assessments allow for greater differentiation and engagement


    • Student selection of texts
    • Planning a wide range of activities geared to learning preferences
    • Creating in-class groupings for collaboration
    • Use of multimodal texts (visual, auditory, written)
    • Timely and relevant feedback

#6 Teaching Informed by Assessment

  • Teaching is based on formative and summative assessments
    • Using data to inform instruction
    • Using assessment and feedback to foster student learning and growth


    • Self-assessment by the student
    • Scaffolding in stages (brainstorming, free-writing, journal response, critical reflection)
    • Online, collaborative forum discussions where students can negotiate meaning with each other
    • Using mini-lessons based on data to improve student learning

Five Approaches to Learning

#1 Thinking Skills

  • Teacher functions as facilitator to shape learning
    • Students develop skills of metacognition, reflection, critical and creative thinking, transfer
    • Open-ended questions engage deliberate thinking and authentic learning
    • Students engage in reading, listening, viewing texts to produce insightful responses to texts


    • Encouraging connections between texts to transfer their learning
    • Allowing students to formulate hypotheses about a text’s meaning and discover how the meaning is constructed
    • Fostering thinking through juxtaposing different literary forms, time periods, text types, and cultures

#2 Communication

  • Teacher functions as facilitator for communication
    • Form and maintain an atmosphere of congeniality to develop self confidence
    • Every aspect of language and literature is related to the development of communication
      • Reading, viewing, writing, speaking, listening, performing


    • Group and individual presentations that engage active listening of the audiences
    • Well developed and supported responses to texts
    • Using digital tools to enrich learning and communication

#3 Social Skills

  • Teacher functions as facilitator to develop social skills
    • Introversion and extroversion impact communication and respecting differences is important
    • Different cultures share different ways of communication to form relationships, so register is important in the awareness of the impact of language
    • Helping students engage in contrasting opinions that may oppose their own and respecting differences
    • Students working together to negotiate meaning of a text through varying perspectives by substanting their ideas with evidence and reasons
  • Application
    • Classroom norms
      • Safe classroom environment
    • Balanced use of group and private response
    • Active listening of different perspectives
    • Teacher modeling varied responses

#4 Self-Management Skills

  • Teacher functions as facilitator to shape self management skills
    • Perseverance and resilience in learning through organization, goal setting, time management, affective skills (managing state of mind) in order to learn independently


    • Deadline management
    • Plan of study into scaffolded steps
    • Study techniques such as note-taking, text marking, digital organizational tools
    • Self-reflection on progress of standards and aims of the course
    • Increasing autonomy and responsibility of learning
    • Awareness of strengths and areas for growth

#5 Research Skills

  • Teacher functions as facilitator to learn research
    • Academically-honest way to use others’ information to build on synthesis and creation
    • Formulating focused and intriguing research questions, appraising sources and recording, evaluating, and synthesizing information


    • Teacher models effective research skills beyond the basic internet search
      • School databases, advanced Google searches
    • Questioning the interpretation of a text, validity and credibility of a source
    • Guidance on how to use databases and online sources
    • Research on historical contexts, linguistic, and literary history