Wisconsin’s Guiding Principles for Teaching and Learning

For each of the following Guiding Principles, DPI has created a research brief that highlights relevant research and resources that support the underlying premises of that principle. Additionally, there are probing questions for professional learning community discussions. These briefs are available as an appendix document in the English language arts, mathematics, and Literacy in All Subjects Common Core State Standards documents.
  1. Every student has the right to learn.
    It is our collective responsibility as an education community to make certain each child receives a high-quality, challenging education designed to maximize potential; an education that reflects and stretches his or her abilities and interests. The belief that every child has a right to learn forms the basis of equitable and accessible teaching and learning. The five principles that follow cannot exist without this commitment guiding our work. Corresponding research brief
  1. Instruction must be rigorous and relevant.
    To understand the world in which we live, there are certain things we all must learn. Each school subject is made up of core content and essential knowledge that is deep, rich, and vital. Every student, regardless of age or ability, must be taught this essential knowledge. What students learn is fundamentally connected to how they learn. Successful instruction blends the content of a discipline with processes of an engaging learning environment that changes to meet the dynamic needs of all students. Corresponding research brief
  1. Purposeful assessment drives instruction and affects learning.
    Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning. Purposeful assessment practices help teachers and students understand where they have been, where they are, and where they might go next. No one assessment can provide sufficient information to plan teaching and learning. Using multiple and varied types of assessments as part of instruction results in useful information about student understanding and progress. Educators should use this information to guide their own practice in partnership with students and their families, to reflect on learning, and set future goals.
    Corresponding research brief
  1. Learning is a collaborative responsibility.
    Teaching and learning are both collaborative processes. Collaboration benefits teaching and learning when it occurs on several levels:  when students, teachers, family members, and the community collectively prioritize education and engage in activities that support local schools, educators, and students; when educators collaborate with their colleagues to support innovative classroom practices and set high expectations for themselves and their students, and when students are given opportunities to work together toward academic goals in ways that enhance learning.
    Corresponding research brief
  1. Students bring strengths and experiences to learning.
    Every student learns, although no two students come to school with the same culture, learning strengths, background knowledge, or experiences, and no two students learn in exactly the same way. Every student’s unique personal history enriches classrooms, schools, and the community. This diversity is our greatest education asset.
    Corresponding research brief
  1. Responsive environments engage learners.
    Meaningful learning happens in environments where creativity, awareness, inquiry, and critical thinking are part of instruction. Responsive learning environments adapt to the individual needs of each student and encourage learning by promoting collaboration rather than isolating learners. Learning environments, whether classrooms, schools or other systems, should be structured to promote engaged teaching and learning.
    Corresponding research brief