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Meet the Mockingbird Methodology
The Mockingbird Methodology is a responsive teaching approach that combines research on learning and development with best practices, to create SAFE, JOYFUL, ACTIVE, AND ENGAGING learning experiences for students.
Based in over 70 years of research, the methodology was developed as a way to prepare teachers and counselors for teaching in programs that blend academic instruction with social services (such as workforce development, counseling, or life skills development).
The methodology’s biopsychosocial approach to teaching and learning is designed on the scientific principles of learning and development. The approach serves as an instructional model for teaching vulnerable learners.
Make LEARNING Easier
Improve Attendance, Motivation, and Outcomes
Our instructional approach is appropriate for ALL Learners
The methodology recognizes learning as a cognitive, emotional, psychological, and social process and trains practitioners on how to use biopsychosocial instructional tools and strategies to teach more holistically. In the methodology, teachers function less as content lecturers and more as facilitators blending the roles of mentor, mediator, and cognitive coach into one responsive role.
Our instructional approach combines strategies from different areas including psychology, education, sociology, performance, curriculum, and cognition.This approach make learning easier, content more accessible, and learning more enjoyable.
A biopsychosocial response to learning is holistic and as such, has universal application. Any educator can use such strategies to keep their learners attentive, engaged, motivated, and productive.
But we have a soft spot for the Vulnerable Learner
You know the learners…the ones who are trying to attend class while they manage the volatilities and instabilities of their lives. We define a vulnerable learner as a student who is OVERWHELMED, a learner who is STRUGGLING with school and life. Vulnerable learners often struggle with…
Make TEACHING EASIER
Improve Instructional Consistency, Improve Student Performance
The Mockingbird Methodology consists of different strategies (academic, behavior, mindset, community, etc.) that when used collectively have an increased impact on student performance. The methodology doesn’t silo behavior management from content strategies or engagement strategies from strategies that help learners with motivation. The methodology is a holistic approach. Motivation strategies are integrated WITH engagement strategies. Behavioral management strategies are integrated WITH content teaching strategies. The results? Increases in student performance including mindset, motivation, and student outcomes.
Make Staff Development EASIER
Develop Instructional mastery and Implement with Confidence
Mockingbird Methodology strategies have universal classroom application. As staff development facilitators, we too use the strategies. When you attend a training, expect the methodology to come to life as your facilitator will be a teaching example of the approach and the strategies. We don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk!
Additionally, the Methodology strategically organizes strategies into groups to make implementation easier and more effective. Each group of strategies is organized into a discreet wheel. A teacher develops mastery by practicing and mastering the strategies within each wheel.
Sample of Methodology Strategy Wheels
Engage EVIDENCE-BASED Strategies
Evidence-based practices in education are strategies and tools that are backed by RIGOROUS, HIGH-STANDARD RESEARCH, replicated with positive outcomes and backed by their effects of student outcomes. When teachers use evidence-based practices with fidelity, they can be confident their teaching is likely to support student learning and achievement of standards (such as CCRS).
The Mockingbird Methodology is comprised of a collection of evidence-based teaching strategies. Such strategies include (but are not limited to):
SCIENCE OF LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT - KEY FINDINGS
1. Human development depends upon the ongoing, reciprocal relations between individuals’ genetics, biology, relationships, and cultural and contextual influences
- Human development occurs within nested, interlinked micro- and macro-ecological systems that provide both risks and assets to development and affect development both directly and indirectly.
- Epigenetic adaptation is the biological process through which these reciprocal individual-context relations create qualitative changes to the expression of our genetic makeup over time, both within and across generations.
- Genes are chemical “followers,” not the prime movers, in developmental processes; their expression at the biological level is determined by contextual
- The development of the brain begins prenatally and continues in one developmental continuum well into young Opportunities for change, intervention, and growth exist across the developmental continuum, with particularly sensitive periods in both early childhood and adolescence.
- Developmental systems theory and associated dynamic systems mathematical models provide a holistic, contextualized framework within which to integrate diverse, field-specific scientific knowledge, enabling a deeper understanding of the developing brain and whole child in
- Intergenerational transmission is rooted in biological and social processes that begin before a child is born. Preventing the negative impacts of adversity can prevent the transmission of adversity and its many risks to development to future generations. Conversely, building individual and environmental assets can promote the intergenerational transfer of adaptive systems and opportunities.
2. Each individual’s development is a dynamic progression over time
- The human brain is a complex, self-organizing
- Neural plasticity and malleability enable the brain to continually adapt in response to experience, which serves as a “stressor” to brain growth across
- Each individual’s development is nonlinear; has its own unique pacing and range; features multiple diverse developmental pathways; moves from simplicity to complexity over time; and includes patterns of performance that are both variable and
- Whole child development requires the integration and interconnectivity—both anatomically and functionally—of affective, cognitive, social, and emotional Though these processes—particularly cognition and emotion—have historically been dichotomized, they are inextricably linked, co-organizing and fueling all human thought and behavior.
- The development of complex dynamic skills does not occur in isolation; it requires the layering and integration of prerequisite skills and domain-specific knowledge, as well as the influence of contextual factors.
- Inter- and intra-individual variability in skill construction and performance—both of which are highly responsive to contextual influences and supports—is the The optimization of development requires an understanding of both stability and variability in growth and performance.
3. The human relationship is a primary process through which biological and contextual factors mutually reinforce each other
- The human relationship is an integrated network of enduring emotional ties, mental representations, and behaviors that connect people over time and
- Attachment patterns are formed through shared experiences of co-regulation, attunement, mis-attunement, and re-attunement. Though important in shaping future relationship patterns, early patterns remain open to change as children re-interpret, appraise, and re-appraise past experiences in light of new ones.
- Developmentally positive relationships are foundational to healthy development, creating qualitative changes to a child’s genetic makeup and establishing individual pathways that serve as a foundation for lifelong learning and adaptation.
- Developmentally positive relationships are characterized by attunement, co-regulation, consistency, and a caregiver’s ability to accurately perceive and respond to a child’s internal state. These types of relationships align with a child’s social-historical life space and provide protection, emotional security, knowledge, and scaffolding to develop age-appropriate skills.
- The establishment of developmentally positive relationships can be intentionally integrated into the design of early care and educational settings, practices, and interventions.
4. All Youth are vulnerable
- Youth development is nested within micro-ecological contexts (e.g., families, peers, schools, communities, neighborhoods) as well as macro-ecological contexts (e.g., economic and cultural systems). These contexts encompass relationships, environments, and societal structures.
- Adversity, through the biological process of stress, exerts profound effects on development, behavior, learning, and
- Resilience is a common phenomenon wherein promotive internal and external systems integrate to facilitate the potential for positive outcomes, even in the face of significant adversity. As no two children draw from the same combination of experiences and supportive resources, resilience pathways are diverse, and yet can lead to equally viable and complex adaptation and, ultimately, well-being and
- Environments and societal structures include the differential allocation of assets and risks, as well as the impact of differing belief systems about roles, talents, learning, and other factors viewed as driving personal success. While factors such as poverty and institutional racism makes poor outcomes more likely, family and community assets must be recognized, as they can protect children from short- and long-term negative
- Adult buffering can prevent and/or reduce unhealthy stress responses and the resulting negative consequences for As such, building and supporting adult capacities are critically important priorities.
- Early care and educational settings that provide developmentally rich relationships and experiences can buffer the effects of stress and trauma, promote resilience, and foster healthy development. Meanwhile, developmentally unsuitable and/or culturally incongruent contexts can exacerbate stress, hinder the reinforcement of foundational competencies, and impel maladaptive
5. Students are active agents in their own learning
- Diverse scientific fields converge to describe the holistic, complex, dynamic, contextualized processes that describe how children develop as
- A powerful organizing metaphor through which to understand the dynamic interrelationships governing children’s development and knowledge and skill construction is that of the “constructive web.”
- Key factors that affect learning are internal attributes (including prior knowledge and experiences; well-developed habits, skills, and mindsets; and motivational and metacognitive competencies) and critical elements of the learning environment (including positive developmental relationships; environmental conditions for learning; cultural responsiveness; and rigorous, evidence-based instructional and curricular design).
- Foundational skills such as self-regulation, executive functions, and growth mindset lay the groundwork for the acquisition of habits skills and mindsets including both higher-order skills (e.g., agency, self-direction) and domain-specific
- Motivation and metacognition are important, interrelated skills for effective learning. These competencies enable and encourage students to initiate and persist in tasks, recognize patterns, develop self-efficacy, evaluate their own learning strategies, invest adequate mental effort to succeed, and intentionally transfer knowledge and skills to solve increasingly complex problems.
- Instructional and curricular design can optimize learning. Together, well-scaffolded, engaging, relevant, and rigorous content; personalized contextual supports in multiple modalities; and evidence-based, mastery-oriented pedagogies embedded in well-designed, interdisciplinary projects can balance what students already know with what they need and want to
- Interpersonal and environmental conditions for learning (CFL) impact learning processes both directly and indirectly through their effects on cognition (e.g., cognitive load), student and teacher stress, and the relational dimensions of learning (e.g., attunement, trust). High-support conditions that recognize students’ individual starting points and strengths can facilitate deeper learning while increasing developmental range, performance, and
- Culture is a critical component of Cultural competence and responsiveness can address the impacts of institutionalized racism, discrimination, and inequality; promote the development of positive mindsets and behaviors; and build self-efficacy in all students, particularly those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
- Skill development occurs in all ecologies, cultures, and social fields. Next to the family, early care and education settings are the most important social contexts in which early development unfolds.
- Research and development (R&D) efforts can be enriched, and progress accelerated, by employing dynamic systems analysis techniques and rapid-cycle improvement science methodologies to identify positive variation in developmental pathways and apply this knowledge at scale.
- The design of education and other child-serving systems—and surrounding policy environments—cannot bet on the resilience of children alone. Rather, such systems must capitalize on the opportunities presented by the translation of developmental science to the design of contexts and practices, therein supporting a fully personalized approach to whole child development and the expression of human potential.
- Dramatic improvements in outcomes and equity depend on public and political will. Sound policies to foster whole child development and practice must be grounded in rigorous science; implemented with quality; measured with an understanding of the formative progression of individual development; and adopted at scale, with cultural competence and equitable outcomes as explicit goals
Engage Methodology strategies in a classroom to...
- Build trust and rapport with students
- Make learning more active
- Make the process of learning more visible to students
- Create cultures that are safe, supportive, and that foster a sense of belonging
- Foster motivation, curiosity, and confidence
Engage Methodology strategies in an educational program to
- Create a shared research-based organizational approach for teaching and learning
- Prepare staff for teaching non-traditional and vulnerable learners
- Create a common organizational language and philosophy for educational services and strategies
- Increase consistency in the delivery of educational services
Click the arrows to learn more about the foundational concepts and strategies of the Mockingbird Methodology.
1. SCIENCE OF LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT
Methodology strategies are supported from research in neuroscience, developmental science, andragogy, epigenetics, adversity science, resilience science, cognition, social cognition, humanistic curriculum, psychology, and learning and development.
2. STRATEGIES TO MAKE LEARNING VISIBLE
The process of learning should be visible and accessible to learners. The process of making learning visible is critical to confidence, self-sufficiency, motivation, and independence.
3. LEARNING IS A BIOLOGICAL PROCESS
The Mockingbird Methodology respects the biological process of learning.
Human development depends upon the ongoing, reciprocal relationship between individuals' genetics, biology, relationships and cultural and contextual influences. The development of the brain begins prenatally and continues in one developmental continuum well into young adulthood. Opportunities for change, intervention, and growth exist across the developmental continuum. It is never to late to learn, to learn how to learn, and to learn how to manage one's learning.
4. LEARNING IS ACTIVE
The Mockingbird Methodology makes learning active and engaging.
Students are active agents in their own learning. Teaching, when it is most effective, is a multi-sensory experience designed to create a personalized and authentic learning experience. In active learning, students practice self-regulation, executive functions, and engage in a growth mindset activities that enable and encourage students to initiate and persist in learning tasks.
5. LEARNING IS A PSYCHOLOGICAL PROCESS
6. STRATEGIES TO MAKE LEARNING PSYCHOLOGICALLY SAFE
The Mockingbird Methodology makes learning psychological safe.
All learners are psychologically and emotionally vulnerable during the process of learning, especially learning experiences that encourage active engagement. To minimize risk and foster psychological resiliency and healthy development, Mockingbird strategies teach educators how to create psychologically safe learning environments and how to coach and condition learners for cognitive resiliency.