Frequently Asked Questions
Helping Parents Learn More About Curriculum & Instruction in the Coppell ISD
Overview: The following questions will serve as a starting point for continued conversation about the curriculum and learning opportunities supported by the Coppell Independent School District. Additional questions and responses will be included throughout the year as we strive to enlist our stakeholders as true partners in the education process through increased knowledge and understanding.
1. What does the term "constructivist"mean?
Traditional learning has been focused on acquiring knowledge and skills through memorization and regurgitation with the teacher delivering set knowledge through direct teach lessons. The constructivist theory supports the idea that learning is an interactive process that includes ones prior knowledge and experiences, problem solving and making meaning collaboratively and through reflection. It is about the teacher facilitating learning and being a learner within the community itself. Learners are empowered to problem solve, collaborate, share knowledge and make meaning with others. This results in deeper understanding of concepts and the learner's ability to apply new learning to familiar and unfamiliar situations.
A constructivist-learning environment supports the process or actual “construction” of knowledge, disciplined inquiry, and value beyond school. It nurtures higher order thinking, natural curiosity, deep knowledge, substantive conversation, and connections to the world beyond the classroom. It promotes meaningful dialogue and making meaning together and within self through collaboration and reflection. Learning connects to the lives of students and the world in which they learn. The realization of a "community" of learners, both young and old, is truly actualized through a constructivist-learning environment.
Learning is the lifelong process whereby the learner transforms information and experiences into knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes. Learning is not the transmission of knowledge. Knowledge is not an entity to be transmitted from the teacher to the learner. Rather, knowledge is the constructed result of the interaction between the learner's mental model (experiences, beliefs, emotions, and prejudices) and the new learning experiences of the curriculum. Assumed beliefs of this model: 1) Learners are not blank slates. 2) Learners come with mental models. 3) Intelligence is malleable.
2. What is meant by the term "soft" skills and do they hold a required percentage in CISD’s curriculum?
“Soft” skills are necessary in developing the Whole Child. Identifying and Implementing outcomes that will position learners to be ready for their future is often referred to as future-ready learning outcomes.
Future-ready learning outcomes are crucial for preparing learners for success and should be embedded in every content area. These outcomes include the thinking, interaction, and other "soft" skills learners need to develop and are sometimes referred to as "21st century skills." These skills include:
1. Creativity and Innovation
2. Communication and Collaboration
3. Research and Information Fluency
4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
5. Digital Citizenship
6. Adaptability and Initiative
There is no set percentage for "soft skills." Soft skills are embedded throughout the curriculum as appropriate for the lesson or unit.
3. From what sources does the term "Future ready" come?
CISD’s primary sources for our "Future Ready Outcomes" are:
21st Century Fluency Project: http://www.fluency21.com/
Partnership for 21st Century Skills: www.p21.org
Seven Survival Skills: http://www.tonywagner.com/7-survival-skills4. What are some of the professional learning opportunities made available to CISD teachers?
Coppell ISD send’s its educators to a variety of quality trainings and has also brought-in consultants to train on topics such as Brain Based Strategies, Lesson Design, and RtI (Response to Intervention).
5. What are Instructional Coaches and how are they used in the district?
Instructional Coaches are hired as educators in Coppell ISD. Their purpose is to support high levels of student achievement. All of CISD’s coaches are certified educators who have previously been classroom educators. Instructional Technologists support educators in quality lesson design, in addition to support they receive from Instructional Coaches for:
· Project Based Learning
· Literacy Coaches.
Question submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.