At the core of our philosophy, we believe that there is a necessity for all students to be explicitly taught and be given the necessary time to practice foundational skills in both reading and mathematics, including such important skills as phonics, decoding strategies and basic facts. We believe that there should be a clear and systematic progression of skills and knowledge building upon themselves in order for students to have opportunities to transfer previously learned skills and knowledge to new concepts, allowing them the chance to have more success with developmentally appropriate and scaffolding learning.
In order to do so, we must develop standards-aligned curricula from which teachers can create standards-based lessons, where students will not only receive explicit instruction about the given standard but also the appropriate scaffolding necessary for them to be successful. By providing these supports along with explicit standards-based instruction and a consistently appropriate content-specific vocabulary, students’ acquisition and comprehension will be greater.
We must also create an environment where students feel safe making mistakes during the learning process. This will aid in their development of self-efficacy necessary to learn and grow. If we do this, while challenging students appropriately at their levels, students will gain the self-confidence that allows them to be successful.