Tools for Educators
Turnaround aims to produce research-based tools that build environments, skills and mindsets to accelerate healthy student development and academic achievement.
Over the past 15 years, Turnaround has partnered with nearly 90 schools. We have learned a lot from our work in classrooms and from scientific research on stress and brain development. Turnaround can only directly partner with so many schools, but by translating our learnings into tools that can be shared more broadly, we work towards our vision that one day all children will attend schools that prepare them for the lives they choose.
Turnaround’s tools are resources for those who seek to raise awareness about and address the impact of adversity on learning. These tools can be broken into two categories:
- Knowledge-building tools
- Tools for practice
The Science of Adversity
Building Blocks for Learning
Building Blocks for Learning
Turnaround for Children’s Building Blocks for Learning is an example of a knowledge-building tool, tool designed to to share knowledge and build awareness, deepen understanding and inspire others to address the impact of adversity on learning and behavior. This framework describes how children acquire the skills and mindsets they need to succeed in school and beyond. Each element represents a set of evidence-based skills and mindsets that have been proven by research to strongly correlate to, and even predict, academic achievement. The framework draws from research in multiple fields to suggest movement from lower-order to higher-order skills. Overall, it provides a rigorous perspective on what it means to intentionally teach the whole child – to develop the social, emotional, motivational and cognitive skills in every learner. Turnaround offers this framework as a contribution to a vital collaborative endeavor to deepen and transform K-12 education.
Tools for Educational Practice
Turnaround’s tools for practice are research-based strategies designed to achieve a specific outcome for students or schools. They come with clear guidance to help school system leaders and practitioners implement them. These tools focus on three specific areas:
- Environment – tools that build the capacities of a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, targeting physical safety, emotional support and strong relational support to build calm, safe and predictable climates for learning
- Skills – tools that develop self-regulation, stress management, and relationship skills that enable students to regulate themselves, relate to others, control their behavior and become active participants in a classroom community
- Mindsets – tools that develop growth mindset, sense of belonging, and sense of purpose that inform students’ beliefs about self and school
Some of these tools – such as establishing an effective student support system – are based on what we have found works well through our work with schools. Others will be developed via partnerships and will focus on articulating how proven strategies can be modified, adapted and successfully implemented in schools serving large populations of students impacted by adversity. All tools will be grounded in the science of student development and proven through our direct school partnerships.
Path to Scale
Over the next five years, Turnaround will:
- Develop a toolbox of strategies, practices and measures for addressing the impact of adversity on student development
- Demonstrate proof of the efficacy of those tools in getting students and schools ready for engagement in learning
- Partner with others to scale its tools and help build an integrated field of practice and knowledge
In doing so, we hope to do something that has not yet been done: provide students who have experienced adversity with an authentically equitable pathway for academic and lifelong success.
When you have 29 children sitting in front of you who have emotional needs, who have family issues, who have more problems than an adult could handle, and you’re trying to get them to want to learn, that is an extreme challenge that I don’t think many teachers are prepared to take on.
– Edel Carolan, P.S. 85 Great Expectations, Bronx, NY