EPIC Framework: Empowering Educators
Be an Empowering educator by committing to creating a space where learners develop self-confidence and know that their voice matters!

Core Values

Empowering Educators commit to creating a space where learners develop self-confidence and know their voice matters.

Core ValuesClassroom Ideas
Encourage learners to use their voices by offering opportunities to share ideas.– Provide multiple moments and methods for learners to share.
– Allow all voices to be heard; don’t let one learner dominate the discussion.
Celebrate the unique strengths of each and every learner.– Read “notes from the parent” for your section to prepare to meet learners’ needs.
– Send a positive note or unique award to each learner based on their contribution to the class.
– Use effort-based or behavior-specific praise. Example: “I’m impressed by how you really focused on…” or “Great use of a transition word, Kyra.”
Provide tools that help learners extend their learning beyond the classroom.– Provide learners with a list of additional resources, links, or learning materials.
– Share guiding questions that parents can ask their learners about the lesson.
Meet learners where they are.– Acknowledge learners’ strengths and challenges, then help them set realistic learning goals.
– Use insights from parent notes to prepare to reach learners at different levels.

Empowering Resources

Zoom Chat Box –> Encourage learners to interact and share answers by using the chat on Zoom.
Zoom Reactions –> Suggest learners use the reactions in zoom to share their thoughts/feelings about the lesson.
Pear Deck –> This Google slide add-on creates interactive slides where teachers can see learner answers in real-time.
Nearpod –> Use engaging, interactive media and formative assessments using your own uploaded resources.
Kahoot –> This game-based learning platform lets you create your own quiz using custom questions or pre-made games.
Wheel of Names –> Ensure students chosen are random by using this online spinner to choose names or topics.
Canva –> Create professional designs, certificates, awards, etc.
Types of Praise article –> Understand and use appropriate types of praise.

Tips from Empowering Educators

Check out what some of Outschool’s Empowering educators do to bring EPIC experiences to their learners!

Karen Bunyan – It is essential that students have a ‘can do’ attitude to their learning – and as a teacher I feel this is perhaps the most important lesson that I can teach/create/reinforce. For me it is essential to build in ‘small wins’ right at the start of a lesson so that there is an immediate sense of achievement. A task or question that has no right or wrong answer – so that I can immediately praise the student for their response which immediately creates a positive learning environment which I can then build on and come back to if a student begins to struggle. ‘Remember at the start of the lesson when you worked out ….. so brilliantly? Well just think about how you …” Reminding students of the great piece of writing, fabulous P.E.E. paragraph or adjective choice they made earlier or last lesson constantly reinforces a can do attitude when motivation or confidence begins to drop.

Cindy Frank – I teach a class that I adore called The Many Ways of Seeing: View the World With the Eyes of an Artist. A ten-year old in my class was truly intrigued with how one’s vision can change with different perceptions. She’s an artist herself and made a comment at the end of class about feeling different about possibly seeing beauty instead of fear when viewing insects up close. Even for one-time classes such as this one I always reconnect with all my students via message. I then sent my student a link to these gorgeous macro photography insect photos and she responded with an email responding to each of the photos in turn, explaining the artistic value that she saw not just in the photos but told me her feelings about insects in general have changed. How lovely to find a student with the mind of scientist and the soul of an artist!

Tammy Wenhame – I crafted my most popular themed writing course to meet the needs of my reluctant writer. He needed an inclusive, positive, and safe writing environment. I designed the writing course around his needs, hoping that if my child held these needs, more than likely other students did. This concept has proven the key to creating the best class topic ideas. Once established on the platform, I transformed this concept into identifying the needs of my repeat learners. I quickly found that Outschoolers are a diverse, engaging, and enthusiastic student base which present various educational needs; fill this need, and they return to your classes. The key lies in identifying student needs, such as encouragement, direction, and skill reinforcement, then designing your courses to fill those needs.

Latonya Moore – I love cheering my learners on! I find something about them that is unique to their work or method, and I give positive feedback around it. I want them to know that what they have inside of them is already enough.

Sreenidhi Pundi Muralidharan – I encourage my students to bring out their best in class, and if they come up with something which is not what I want or the right answer, I do not discourage them. My choice of words plays a main role here. Rather than saying “That’s not correct!”, I would say something along the lines of, “Well, glad that you came up with this answer, can you think of something more?”. This makes them think sometimes even out of the box. This also instills self-confidence in them and increases their learning capabilities. I have personally seen this mindset inculcated in students in a class, after giving them a small pep talk. My principles usually go by “It is okay to make mistakes, but what matters the most is what we learn from our mistakes and try not to repeat them”. I feel that this not only boosts their morale but celebrates their interests. In doing all this, Outschool has given me a huge teaching platform to experiment with my passions and connect with students of similar interests. It has helped me create my own curriculum and lets me adapt my curriculum according to my learners, for each session. Thank you, Outschool!

Ms. Carrie – In my classes, we love to celebrate! We celebrate the right answers or exciting moments with virtual high fives! I will do individual ones, and we will do a whole class high five when they have all succeed at a new lesson. The kids love it and giggle the whole time!

Arden Ashley-Wurtmann – When teaching mathematics to middle schoolers, one of the hardest obstacles to overcome is the perception that there is only one right way to do something. There is often one correct answer to the question at hand, but there is usually more than one way to approach a problem, even if it isn’t the fastest way or the most traditional way. I have found that one of the most authentic ways to combat the “one right way to do something” perception is to allow my excitement to show when a learner solves a problem from a perspective that I wasn’t expecting. I absolutely love responding to their ideas and exploring with them how they relate to other methods, helping them to see whether their approach works and whether it would work consistently. It is easy to validate a learner’s approach to a problem when you really appreciate the diverse perspectives that they bring to the class. I think that celebrating the different approaches that different minds bring to a mathematics problem is what helps my students build their self-confidence.

Fizza Mohsin – I believe that when a child understands that making mistakes is okay, and that you can always correct those mistakes it helps gain their self confidence and they feel empowered. Children often feel embarrassed when they make a mistake. They might not show it sometimes so for a change it might be a good idea if a grown up makes a mistake or acts goofy. This is one my go to ways to make a connection with my learners. This lets them learners feel the powerful one and also gets me some giggles in classroom from learners as well as their grownups! I do this by adding some silly movements or acting forgetful. Throwing some funny names for simple cooking skills like ‘use your tickle fingers to rub the flour and butter’. Children learn best when they are happy so use of play by using voices, props and puppets also helps release any tensions and learners open up quickly!

Marc Cuda – If you are excited about the subject you’re teaching and bring it to life for the students, they will naturally want to study it more. In my classes, I try to bring home the fact that you are never too young to do something big. I teach the content, teach the students why it’s important, relate it to our own lives, and then give them some encouraging words as to how they can continue their own passion beyond the class. I give them ideas of what they can do in their homes, further research ideas, optional projects and tasks (which they can post in the classroom or sometimes present in class), and the reminder that if they need any help or have any questions, they can always shoot me a message on Outschool!

Dr. Kai Kafferly – My philosophy of teaching, in a nutshell, is about seeing the student in a completely holistic way. I see each student, no matter what his or her current image of himself or herself, to be a complete, happy, motivated, inquisitive, and positive individual. My mission, my job, is to spark their enthusiasm for learning, help them to see the broader picture that all knowledge is interconnected (especially with all the computer technology Outschool and the internet provides), and to provide a strong, empowered foundation for lifelong learning.

To learn more about Outschool’s EPIC Framework, click here!

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