Quantum teaching is a brain-based teaching philosophy that includes many specific guidelines for creating an effective learning environment, designing curriculum, delivering content and facilitating the learning process. Quantum teaching is about bringing joy to teaching and learning with ever-increasing “Aha” moments of discovery. It’s teaching philosophy is centered on presenting content to students in engaging and energizing ways thus allowing students to become lifelong learners who are responsible for their own learning.
Quantum’s Prime Directive
Quantum teaching rests on the concept of Theirs to Ours, Ours to Theirs. It is Quantum’s Prime Directive. Here is what it means. Theirs to Ours, Ours to Theirs stresses the importance of a teacher entering a student’s world first before they get caught up in the teaching aspect. Because before a student wants to know what a teacher knows, they want to know that the teacher cares about them.
Quantum’s Five Tenets
Quantum learning embodies five tenets or resident truths. They are…
Everything Speaks-Everything from surroundings and tone of voice to distribution of materials, conveys an important message about learning.
Everything is on Purpose-Everything we do has an intended purpose
Experience Before Label-Students make meaning and transfer new content into long-term memory by connecting to existing schema. Learning is best facilitated when students experience the information in some aspect before they acquire labels for what is being learned.
Acknowledge Every Effort-Acknowledgement of each student’s effort encourages learning and experimentation.
If It’s Worth Learning, It’s Worth Celebrating!-Celebration provides feedback regarding progress and increases positive emotional associations with the learning.
Context and Content
The Quantum teaching model is much like a symphony. There are many elements that factor into the learning experience. These elements are put into two categories: content and context. Context is the setting. It focuses on the atmosphere, the Foundation, and the design of the classroom. Content is equally important as the context. Learning occurs when skills are presented in a manner that allows students to explore and discover the wonders of the material being taught to them. Students will not only have opportunity to learn content, but also discover their learning styles and develop some life skills that will help them take greater responsibility for the choices they make.
Classroom Parameters and Guidelines
A strong foundation is an essential part of the learning community setting guidelines that reach beyond the classroom, guiding behavior, building character, and teaching values that stick with students for the rest of their lives are benefits of a strong foundation. Students are given the tools they need to make responsible decisions and become better citizens. While the particulars of each foundation are unique and individual as each school and class, the basic elements remain the same:
A shared purpose
Shared principles and values
Powerful beliefs about learning and teaching
Clear agreements, policies, procedures, and rules
A learning community shares more than a common location; it also shares a common purpose. In the classroom, the shared purpose is for all students to develop proficiency in a subject, become better learners and interact as team players. It is up to the teacher to determine the purpose of his or her community. Once the purpose has been decided, communicate it clearly to the student’s early in the school year. It is important to build excitement around the purpose and transmit it with passion and assurance. The teacher gives student’s feedback often regarding their progress, become their coach, and provide them with their progress and how they’re playing the game. Surprise celebrations along the way keep the momentum going!
Principles are like a collective conscience. They guide behavior and help establish a trusting, supportive environment. Teaching principles is really teaching character. For principles to stick, everyone in the classroom must agree they are important and hold them in high esteem. Quantum teaching uses a set of principles called the 8 Keys of Excellence. They provide a meaningful way to gain alignment and cooperation and lay the framework for a supportive, trusting, environment where each person is valued and respected. As students implement the 8 Keys, behavior problems diminish even with some challenging students. Integrating the Keys focuses on appropriate behavior. When teaching the Keys, the teacher points out things students do right! The Keys are the guiding principles to which students align their behavior. They become acceptable ways of thinking and acting. Just by mentioning the Keys, a student who misbehaves can be put back on track by challenging them to identify the problem and the solution. The Keys become automatic and become a part of their lives.
The 8 Keys of Excellence
Integrity-Conduct yourself with authenticity, sincerity and wholeness. Your values and behavior are aligned.
Failure Leads to Success-Understand failures simply provide you with the information you need to succeed. There are no failures only outcomes and feedback. Everything can be useful if you know how to find the gift.
Speak With Good Purpose-Speak in a positive sense, and be responsible for honest and direct communication. Avoid gossip and harmful communication.
This Is It-Focus your attention on the present moment, and make the most of it. Give each task your best effort.
Commitment-Follow through on your promises and obligations, live your vision. Do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Ownership-Take responsibility and be accountable for your actions
Flexibility-Be open to change or a new approach when it helps you get the outcome you desire.
Balance-Keep your mind, body and spirit in alignment. Spend time maintaining these three areas.
Agreements, Policies, Procedures, and Rules
The foundation of the learning community includes the agreements, policies, procedures and rules by which everyone is willing to live. These agreements keep order and guide student’s actions. They clarify what the teacher expects of the students. Agreements can be school wide or established within a classroom.
Agreements-More informed then rules, they list simple ways to make things run smoother. For example, listening quietly while another person is talking. They can also include following the 8 Keys.
Policies-Support the purpose of the learning community. They also explain sequences of actions for certain situations. For example, it is a student’s responsibility to get and complete make-up work for their absences.
Procedures-Allow students to know what to expect and what action to take. For example, what to do at the beginning of class or where to place homework. Familiar procedures create routine which is important to students in all grade levels. It gives students stability, control and structure.
Rules- Stricter than agreements or policies, rules have clear consequences. Consequences might range from a warning for a first violation to a behavior conference for a third violation. Agreements, policies, procedures, and rules fulfill the brains need for purposeful, positive structure. Student’s may be given a written copy of class policies and rules and may even sign them as a contract. Student’s who are allowed to participate in determining class procedures and rules feel respected and valued.
Remember, everything speaks! The classroom environment either invites and entices learners or distracts and diverts them. An environment that supports learning is fresh, alive and full of vigor. The Quantum teaching environment is one that propels learning and increases student retention.
Visuals such as Iconic posters, affirmation posters, and color strengthen students learning.
Props can visibly represent an idea, and in visual learning, and can also assist students who are highly kinesthetic.
Seating plays an important role in the orchestration of learning. Desks may be arranged to support a given lesson or turned for group work. For teacher lectures or presentation disks should face forward to help students stay focused. The goal is flexibility.
Plants, aroma, pets, and other organic elements are not what you commonly associate with the classroom. However, plants produce oxygen and the brain thrives on oxygen. A little spray of peppermint, basil, lemon, cinnamon, or rosemary increases mental alertness.
Pets bring out the caring nature of students and offer students at elementary level the opportunity to practice responsibility, nutrition, health, and caring.
Music helps learners perform better and remember more. It can help bring students into an optimal learning state. Music also allows a teacher to build rapport with students because through it, they can “speak their language.” Music can set the mood, enhance desired learning outcomes, and punctuate for effect. Orchestrating the elements in your environment greatly influences your ability to teach more with less effort.
“ Life Skills” or “Social Skills”
Quantum teachers are masterful conductors who bring out the beautiful music within each of his or her musicians, orchestrating students authenticity and efficacy through personal skills. Otherwise known as “life skills” or “social skills”, these abilities empower each of us to build and maintain rapport and relationships with others. Not having these skills handicaps students in their lives, and it seems the “at-risk” students are often the ones who lack them. By going beyond content, teachers can equip students to be more effective in their lives. The 8 Keys make a significant difference in student’s lives, become a way of being, and are the threads that hold the tapestry of a classroom together. Basically, Living Above the Line means being accountable for one’s actions and the willingness to make corrections when needed. Living Below the Line characteristics like blaming, justifying, denying, and quitting are used as alternatives to responsibility.
This PowerPoint is intended to show how the Quantum Teaching Program relates to and is used in classroom management. The entire program is available on a video presentation on YouTube –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y83q_ODLeKg or Quantum Teaching, Orchestrating Student Success by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon and Sarah Singer- Nourie is a guide for becoming a Quantum Teacher .