By Dave Levin, KIPP Co-Founder
When anyone asks me what makes a KIPP school so special, my answer is always the same, “We’ve got remarkable teachers and school leaders.” And, we do.
The next question is almost always the same, “So, what makes excellent teaching?” For the first seventeen years of our history, our answer to this question varied. Last year, the KIPP Framework for Excellent Teaching (KFET) gave us a common language to start thinking about the question, “What makes excellent teaching?” Now, we talk about KFET’s four elements of self and others, classroom culture, the teaching cycle, and knowledge, united by our beliefs and character, all in service of student growth and achievement.
KFET tries to capture the elements of great teaching that have been with us since the first teacher chalked an aim on a cave wall. Press play below to watch Caleb Dolan, one of the countless KFET architects, talk about the rationale for the KIPP Framework for Excellent Teaching.
Why a KIPP Framework?
After a year of use by thousands of KIPP teachers, we’ve learned a ton about what makes KFET work and how it could be improved. KFET 2.0 tries to capture these lessons.
What’s new about KFET 2.0?
The four elements of excellent teaching remain unchanged as does the structure of the Framework (we start with the element, build the competencies that support the element, and then map out the observable behavior). The feedback of KIPP leaders and teachers over the last year have made KFET better and led to KFET 2.0. Here’s how KFET 2.0 is different:
It’s stickier – The behaviors are shorter and the language more straightforward. Additionally, many of the behaviors have ‘Sticky Labels’ that make them more memorable and therefore a greater part of our practice.
This fall we’re launching a “Sticky Label Creation Contest.” The ‘Sticky Labels’ we currently have in CAPS at the end of some of the behaviors are placeholders until all the great brains out in the KIPP network come up with better ones. Have fun with it – that is how those that are included were developed. For example, for the behavior “Adjusts tone and actions as needed,” we thought, “This is when kids mirror back our tone or attitude – our joy, our frustration. Wow, that’s like Newton’s law – to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” And then we realized that like Newton’s law of inertia – nothing changes unless we change it. As a result, the Sticky Label for that behavior is now Newton’s 1st and 3rd Law. So come on, help us create ‘Sticky Labels’ for KFET 2.0. Start thinking and stay tuned for the official launch of this challenge after Labor Day. 🙂 🙂
It’s more KIPP – the tone is more reflective of our culture. It’s more fun and more observable. 🙂
There are three new competencies: Professionalism, Investment, and Analysis & Action. In observations of high performing teachers over the last year, we realized these were so present in the classrooms of excellent teachers yet missing from the framework.
Behaviors from three competencies found new homes: Engagement, Checking for Understanding, and Critical Thinking & Problem-Solving. We’ve removed engagement as a competency because engaged students are the result of a teacher executing many other behaviors well. Actions teachers take to keep their students engaged are embedded in other competencies. You’ll find the Checking for Understanding behaviors in Lesson Execution, Assessment, and in Analysis & Action, and the Critical Thinking & Problem-Solving behaviors are also reflected in other competencies throughout KFET 2.0.
Huge thanks again to everyone who has helped KFET continue to improve. KFET is a living and breathing document as we all continue to learn and grow as teachers and leaders.
Stay tuned for more.
Have a great summer and thanks again.