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booksOur Approach

A Philosophy of Student Centered Teaching

Educational Directions' approach reshapes the way a school thinks about "work." Our focus on defining and acting on "the right work" produces improved performance in every student. At professional development trainings, we focus on what the learner needs to have achieved at specific times in the school year and strategies for preparing schools to provide those experiences to learners. In the schools, our coaches help apply those strategies to the school's specific circumstances and needs.

Our Process

When we are contacted by a district, we try to meet with the decision-makers and that district to find out exactly what they would like to have happen with their teachers and students.  If it appears that we can address that set of expectations, we will make a proposal or a set of post-proposals with different cost structures.  If the proposal meets with the school district’s approval, we will write a contract and determine when, where, and how services will be provided.

At the midterm and the end of each year, we will provide the district with an evaluation of their involvement in our program with a focus on what we think happened and on what the schools think was most beneficial.  If the district chooses to renew the contract, we will spell out new expectations and identify how the program would change for people who in are in Year Two of the program.  If the district chooses to add more schools for the program, we would call for a Year Two program for those that have been in the program and a Year One program for those that are just starting.

The focus of our program is to move the schools to self-sufficiency in terms of identifying and implementing best practice.  In most cases, this takes from 3-5 years.

The desensi method

students"We put students through scrimmages, where they either know the content or they know the process, to see if they can do the other.

For example, if I want to test content, I'll make sure they know the process.  If I want to test process, I'll make sure they know the content.  And then I'll put them through a real-time scrimmage which duplicates the test."




State assessments establish expectations for all students.  To meet these expectations, each student must “own" the learnings (concepts, tasks, thinking) required.  This “critical vocabulary" must not only be known but must be “operational.

If the critical learnings are not known or are not operational, students cannot perform required tasks.  

The knowledge base must be “congruent" to the task for the student to reach potential.  Alternative languages and level experience will produce a gap between potential and performance.



The student must “know" the learning required, but that is not enough. He/she must be willing to perform the tasks required and invest “best effort" on every part of the assessment. The expectation is that every answer or product represents the student’s “personal best" effort.

Poor attitude usually causes a student to learn and perform below potential. It leads to a number of problems:



Most state assessments imbed perceptions generated by learning (time, space, distance, etc.) There are 2 that are required but are not related to standard expectations:

Students must know what good work is and believe that they can produce it; otherwise, they cannot demonstrate potential.           

Students operate in a comfort zone built by experience as learners. If a student believes that poor work is good enough, he/she will work at that level on any assessment.

If the student believes that he/she cannot do the work required, he/she will be correct. Lack of this belief in self produces anxieties and can negatively affect attitude.



Mature thinking patterns and critical reading/writing/thinking are required on every question of a state test.

Immature thinkers, impulsive responders, and attention deficit students regularly misread questions, leave tasks unfinished and produce products that lack depth and integrity.



Almost all students need two sets of experiences.  They must have work experience that “forms" the Five Legs, and they must have experience working successfully at the level of the assessment.  They must have “formative" and “calibrating" experiences (this is where differentiation and accommodation become critical).           

If the student lacks appropriate experience, he/she can know the content but be unprepared to work at the required levels.