Teacher Learning Community

Spring 2018 TLC: Using Developmental and Cognitive Sciences to Enhance Instruction

Course leader:

Teacher Quality Standards

  • QS III: Teachers plan and deliver effective instruction and create an environment that facilitates learning for their students.
    • Element A: Teachers demonstrate knowledge about the ways in which learning takes place, including the levels of intellectual, physical, social, and emotional development of their students.

This set contains all of the resources used in the spring 2018 TLC Using Developmental and Cognitive Sciences to Enhance Instruction.


Continuous Improvement in Teaching: Developing a Question

The purpose of this two-week activity is to become familiar with Schoology, as well as to take the time to consider the themes introduced at the opening meeting, and reflect on the direction your work will take in this TLC. What are your strengths when it comes to understanding how student development impacts learning, helping your students build academic tenacity, and supporting students’ ability to advocate for their learning?  

What Can Cognitive Science Tell Us About Teaching?

The resources in this activity are meant to provide information about neuroscience and its implications for instruction. Teachers will be asked to reflect on the self-assessment of their practice with regard to Teacher Quality Standard III A (from Activity 1) and choose one or two small changes in an upcoming lesson in order to make their instruction more “brain-friendly”.  


Teaching "Soft" Skills

In this activity you will review resources related to the development of skills that are an important ingredient in student success, but not necessarily formally taught; whether termed as “soft-skills”, skills for success, or non-cognitive skills, for this purpose we are including things like growth mindset, persistence, and academic risk taking; in short, the skills that are necessary for life-long success but not necessarily measured.   As part of your classroom implementation you will create a plan to incorporate more focus on these skills as part of building a culture that supports the development of students’ intellectual, physical, social, and emotional learning.

Understanding the Kids I Teach

Understanding of the continuum of development of students in general and specifically a knowledge of the developmental stages of the children in your classroom is an important step in putting to work in planning lessons that reflect the relationship of intellectual, physical, and emotional development of students, thereby providing appropriate learning experiences. In this activity you will explore developmental stages in general and specific ways that development impacts the grade level you teach. As part of the classroom implementation you will record your classroom and look for evidence of ways that student development affects learning.  Finally you will collaborate with a colleague and make small changes in your teaching practice that might better support your students developmentally.

Students as Self-Advocates

In this final activity you will explore resources that will prompt your thinking about ways to support your students in understanding and advocating for their learning needs. Critical skills of reflection and thinking metacognitively lead students to greater understanding of the way they learn and the ability to learn in new ways. A critical component of supporting students to be self-advocates for their own learning is a classroom culture that empowers them to do so.