Instructional Learning Cycles

Instructional Learning Cycles (ILCs)

Teaching is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding jobs in the world. The instructional practices of teachers, both good and bad, can have lasting effects on the academic achievement of students. In an effort to improve student learning, teachers are taking a closer look at their instructional practices and its impact upon student performance.

Instructional Learning Cycle (2) 

The Instructional Learning Cycle (ILC) is a process that promotes teacher collaboration and collective responsibility.

Teacher teams work collaboratively to engage in dialogue around research and evidence-based instructional strategies while using student data to make decisions about daily instruction. Teacher teams should consider the following essential questions to guide them through the process:

  1. What do we want students to know and be able to do?
  2. How will students demonstrate that they have acquired the essential knowledge and skills?
  3. How will we agree on the criteria that we will use in determining quality of student work, and can we apply the criteria consistently?
  4. How will we intervene for students who struggle and enrich the learning for students who are proficient?
  5. How will we use the evidence of student learning to improve our individual and collective professional practice?

The ILC process provides opportunities for teacher teams to plan collaboratively and create a quality instructional plan designed to meet a specific standard, while focusing instructional practices that aligns content, strategies and assessments. The collaborative meetings allow teacher teams to analyze their combined implementation and impact data in order to build a sense of collective responsibility for the learning of all students. Teachers are able to tier instruction to meet the needs of all students. Between meetings, teachers implement specific instructional strategies and gather student data through formative assessments. Each teacher collects and analyzes data on both the implementation of the strategy and the impact of the strategy on student learning within their own classroom. Once collection and analysis occurs, team members compare data amongst each other in order to share learning. Through this process, teachers are able to determine which strategies and instructional practices contributed to student performance.

Studies have shown that teaching and planning in isolation is no longer a best practice. Students achieve more and are better able to apply their knowledge when they experience collaboratively planned and taught curriculum (Hensen, 2006). The ILC offers a process that creates a blue print of effective collaboration and planning designed to meet the academic needs of all students.

Henson, K.T. (2006). Curriculum Planning: Integrating Multiculturalism, Constructivism, and Education Reform. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.