Background

What we know

A teacher’s effectiveness has more impact on student learning than any other factor controlled by school systems. Today’s teachers are being asked to adapt at an unaccustomed rate and implement a crush of policies and initiatives into their daily practice. The Business Innovation Factory has launched this initiative - through the generous support of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant - to connect, inspire, and enable teachers to design better learning environments.

Since 2012, BIF’s Student Experience Lab has been building a foundation of research about the teacher experience, culminating in a report called Feedback for Teachers. This research - commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - has supported the Student Experience Lab’s mission to channel the voice of the student into action by leveraging those closest to students: teachers. We found that teachers struggle to maintain a sense of agency and autonomy in their own classroom, to improve their own practice, and to build a support network with their peers. As a result, many teachers feel disengaged from their work and schools, leading to a negative impact on the education system.

What we believe

Based upon our findings in Feedback for Teachers, we have developed the TD4Ed model with the following principles in mind:

  1. 1

    Something here needs to change

    We know the current education system needs a positive change in order to better serve our students. We also know that teachers are looking to invigorate their practice. TD4Ed can support change for both of these needs.

  2. 2

    Teachers can thrive with more autonomy

    We believe the educators closest to our students should have the flexibility and freedom to act on what is best for their class, school and district.

  3. 3

    Teachers can get better by learning together

    We want to provide the space for teachers to collaborate since we believe that teachers can create value together that cannot be created alone.

  4. 4

    Teachers can support one another through exploration

    We want to encourage the power of community within learning environments so teachers can learn from one another and support each other.

  5. 5

    The voice of teachers has value in education

    We want to bring the teacher voice to the national conversation on education.

  6. 6

    The work of teachers has value in society

    We want to help revitalize and re-energize the role and craft of teaching.

What we’re doing

With these principles in mind, we co-created the TD4Ed platform with teachers through a series of pilot programs over the course of six months. With engagement support of community partner, Highlander Institute, three U.S. locations engaged in a pilot program to test the online platform and the curriculum activities.

In the summer of 2014, we opened the platform up to anyone who would like to learn how to incorporate a design thinking approach to their practice, as well as tackle a real-world education challenge. We are preparing for the next phase of work to develop promising opportunities for the future of teacher-driven change.

You can learn more about what we did and where we are going by checking out our TD4Ed project summary.