The Craft of Apprenticeship Learning

At this point in the year, you have created a community of students who are consciously developing their growth mindsets. (See previous newsletters and lesson plans for explanations and tips on how to create growth mindsets in your classroom.) You have also been simultaneously building students’ skill sets along the way. This combination is the winning formula for success in the classroom:                                    

                                                          Mindsets + Skill Sets = Results!

Many students come to us lacking vital skills for reading, writing, listening, speaking, questioning, and collaborating.  We can't assume that someone else should have taught them the skills they need to succeed in our classroom. It takes time and practice to develop vital learning skills. So If they come to our classroom lacking skills, then we need to apprentice them into the vital skills they need to succeed. If not us, then who?

In order to empower students to take ownership of their own development of skill sets, it is important to apprentice them into life long learning skills by employing a gradual release of responsibility from the teacher to the student. Just as we teach swimming by gradually removing supports (scaffolding) from students in order for them to learn to be successful independent swimmers, we must teach life long learning skills in the same way. 

Gradual Release of Responsibility

                      Modeled              Shared                Guided          Independent

                     Teacher Ownership  ---------------------->  Student Ownership

A simple breakdown of how to scaffold instruction to empower students is as follows:

  • First, model the particular strategy. (I Do)
  • Second, use the strategy in a large group setting with the teacher directly participating for direction and support. (We do)
  • Third, allow students to use the strategy in small group settings with the teacher stepping back from direct participation in order to monitor the use of the strategy. (Two Do)
  • Finally, offer each student the opportunity to use the strategy independently while the teacher is monitoring the work both directly by observing students and indirectly by reviewing student work (logs, response journals, writing.) (You Do.)

Teaching in a way that simultaneously develops students’ mindsets as well as their skill sets is challenging, but it will yield amazing results that will positively impact your students’ lives forever. You are not alone in this process, Infinite Horizons along with Inspiring Learners is here to help. Check out the numerous resources to help you achieve maximum success with your students. Our Inspiring Secondary Learners and Inspiring Elementary Learners books each offer suggestions and strategies for teaching the vital skills your students need to succeed.