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What do you mean by “Contributive Learning”?
Contributive Learning is the process of discovering who you are, connecting with others, and developing knowledge and competency. We call it Contributive Learning because when those four elements are present—i.e., when someone has self-understanding, a sense of connection, relevant knowledge, and key skills or competency—they contribute to the world. It’s as simple as that.
Everything we do—all our workshops, series, and engagement with schools—is designed to enable Contributive Learning.
Are you a curriculum provider?
No. We work within YOUR curriculum to weave academic, social, and emotional learning in ways that improve student outcomes and professional practice. If you use an SEL curriculum, we work within those, too, supporting you to implement SEL not as an add-on, but as an intentionally integrated element of learning.
Contributing means impacting someone or something for the better, in any way and at any moment in time. It can happen on a grand scale (like a scientific discovery or solution to a global problem), or on the smallest interpersonal or individual levels, when we contribute to our own or another’s well-being. Contribution is the ultimate application of learning, and the action most tied to our sense of well-being. We experience the greatest sense of meaning and fulfillment when we’re able to contribute to people’s lives and the world. We contribute to the greatest extent when we know who we are, feel connected, and pair knowledge with competency. Contribution isn’t just our purpose—it’s the purpose of learning.
Teachers are already busy. How is this not just “one more thing” to do?
Contributive Learning makes teachers’ lives easier, their lessons more purposeful, and their jobs more rewarding. It isn’t a new program to add on to their work, but a way of approaching teaching and learning that enhances what they’re already doing and amplifies their impact on students’ experiences. It’s a powerful lens that gives teachers a clearer picture of who their students are, what they need at any point in time, and how to improve their learning and well-being.
What is unique about your approach?
A lot of providers offer SEL solutions. Contributive Learning is that and much more—it’s a holistic learning and well-being solution that weaves every element of lifelong success (self-understanding, connection, knowledge, and competency) into curricular, everyday teaching and learning. We don’t see SEL as something to “do” on Friday afternoons or on special occasions. Contributive Learning is SEL and academics in tandem, in a way that works best for both teachers and students. The research is out on the importance of weaving academic, social, and emotional learning. Our approach shows schools HOW through ongoing, nested professional development.
How does this support students’ academic outcomes?
Social and emotional challenges are significant barriers to students’ success in the classroom. It’s hard to learn anything if you don’t feel well. Contributive Learning prioritizes well-being both as a foundation for further learning and as an outcome of the everyday academic process. It also focuses everything students learn on how to apply it—i.e., how to use it to contribute. When students have opportunities to use what they learn, they want to learn more, and their outcomes improve.
It’s also hard to learn if you’re bored or disengaged. Contributive Learning makes curricular content more engaging, purposeful, and likely to stick by connecting it to students’ strengths, interests, and goals. If students see themselves in what they’re learning (i.e., the learning is relevant to who they are as individuals), they feel social and emotional engagement (SEE)—a connection to the content that fuels their experience. SEE comes with seeing yourself in your learning.
Contributive Learning augments the content in another way, too. Some students like math, others science, others writing (etc.). Their interests will lead them down various paths. While each path is different, we all want the same thing: to lead a purposeful life marked by meaning and fulfillment. If students use what they like (math, science, writing) to improve people’s lives, they’ll feel happy and well. We’ve all heard, “It’s not what you know, it’s how you use it.” We want every learner to use it to contribute—to add to, not subtract from, people’s lives and the world.
How do you measure learning outcomes like self-understanding, connection, and competency?
We believe that, just like performance in academic subjects, self-understanding, connection, and competency should be realized and measured outcomes of student learning. We’ve written the book on the measurement of hard-to-measure outcomes and are experts on the authentic assessment of learning. Together, our set of measurement, assessment, and instructional tools support teachers at every step of the process: (1) designing learning to meet academic and well-being goals, (2) assessing students’ levels of learning and determining next steps, and (3) measuring performance based on a range of evidence and indicators. Teachers link our SEL Skills & Objectives (assessable indicators of self-understanding, connection, and competency) to the curricular focuses at hand, design learning to meet identified objectives, and then use our Learning Progressions to measure students’ outcomes. Our tools are tested and proven to not only deliver results, but to measure them in a valid and reliable way.
How is Contributive Learning implemented in a district or school?
Contributive Learning is delivered by our expert Contributive Learning Leads in a series of hands-on, collaborative professional development workshops. Whether delivered in an individual school or across a district or region, we work with each individual school at the teaching and leadership levels through a nested approach that ensures optimal support. With teachers, we follow a sequential, straightforward process that embeds Contributive Learning in every aspect of teaching, learning, and the learning environment. At the leadership level, we work with your Leadership Team through an integrated process informed by real-time data and designed to support, enable, and amplify the efforts of teachers and students. Between sessions, teachers and leaders implement what they’ve learned and then come back ready to build from their experiences, sharing what they’ve seen, what’s working, and why, and so spreading best practice throughout districts and schools.
Does this align with the CASEL Framework?
Yes! The CASEL framework includes social and emotional outcomes that are critical for learning and well-being. Our student-centered, evidence-driven approach shows schools HOW to bring each of those outcomes to life in a way that enhances academic performance.
Contributive Learning develops self-understanding, connection, knowledge, and competency.
When these come together, we add to the world. And that leads to meaning, fulfillment, and well-being.
Reach out today to learn more or get started!
Don’t bring down—lift people up.
Don’t subtract—add to the world.
Learn to contribute, in your way, every day.