The Wings of Instruction  

When Teaching Mirrors Learning Series 

Unpacking The DNA of Learning Blueprint


     Each article in this 15 part series systematically unpacks the DNA of Learning Blueprint for kindling the spirit of learning and re-starting our passion as educators.  The collective series will represent a comprehensive outline of fundamental requirements for timeless learning across ages and disciplines.

Part  6:  The Wings of Instruction  



     The “Wings” of the DNA of Learning Blueprint “give flight” to four principles of engagement which are choice, personalization, relevance, and continuous feedback.  These must be interwoven within pedagogy and instruction.  As relationships are built and student interests become known there are demonstrable practices that stem from educational gold standards that intersect with learning science research.  Without becoming experts, we can adopt several practices that align with the fundamentals of generating “minds-on” processing (which far exceeds hands-on when it comes to processing).  These principles promote results far beyond the rhetoric of “entertaining, flashy, the kids love it” type approaches.  Many common brain-based strategies are misunderstood and misapplied, yielding little benefit.  Readily incorporated into educational settings, the following neuro-move segments are context; classification/patterning; dual coding; emotional tags; and social interaction.

Lesson Design

     No, not lesson plans, but a design for engaging learners in understandings is important.  This will stand the test of time and connect to students’ futures, studies, experiences, and interactions.  The components needed to achieve this are embedded in tomorrow’s competencies.  Drawing upon student interest and relevance to their world today, we begin with identifying big ideas/themes/concepts that transfer across subject matter and life’s and challenges ahead. 

  • What is timeless, enduring for these youth?
  • What understanding will be useful beyond this lesson?
  • How does this work relate to other areas of interest?


     Once the overarching idea(s) are articulated, we move to key messages/learnings of the work.

  • Why is it important to learn this?
  • How does this relate to my daily life/my community/current events?
  • What choices are available in the approach to exploring this work?
  • How is this transferable to other aspects of my world today?

With the relevance of the work understood by each learner, then we address skill competencies needed to be successful throughout the learning ahead.

  • What skill competencies are required to do this work?
  • Is effective work in groups needed? Critical thinking?  Compare/contrast?  Digital literacy? Prioritizing? If these (and any others) are part of the process, how will learners acquire the capabilities to advance?
  • How will the students acquire the skills needed to successfully navigate the learning challenges ahead?

As the work of the unit progresses, what forms of evidence will help learners demonstrate their growth?

  • What verbal feedback would provide them with an opportunity to express their acquired understandings?
  • Are there frequent, intermittent exchanges of ideas planned for 2-way feedback?

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