AGILE TEACHING

One of the cornerstones of Visual Communication Analysis™ is the concept of Agile Teaching. Agile Teaching is a new approach to teaching that focuses on speed, flexibility and performance data. The term Agile Teaching evolved from the software development industry which also historically had a fixed methodology for development.

The traditional approach to teaching and software development is a five stage process, namely analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate. In teaching, the process starts with the curriculum and the implementation is the actual teaching in class. Unlike software development where the cycles used to measured in months, in education the cycles are measured in years if not decades. For example, in the USA the Common Core curriculum started in 2007 and the adoption process started in 2013.

Another major issue with traditional education is the fact that all students are taught the same curriculum in the same linear order. In special education, it is even worse where there is no curriculum and each teacher is left to decide what to teach with no regard as to whether it is effective or not.

Agile Teaching is an iterative approach where the delivery and content are modified according to the individual. Unlike traditional teaching where the body of knowledge is predefined and then taught in a linear manner, Agile Teaching also has a body of knowledge but each student will have a different path to mastering the body of knowledge. This is best illustrated by an example. In traditional teaching students are taught to count before they are taught addition and they are taught the letters of the alphabet before they are taught words. In Agile Teaching some students may be taught counting and addition simultaneously and we most probably will teach words before we teach the alphabet.

The delivery of content is also critical for a student to understand the material. In Agile Teaching, each concept is broken down to the smallest possible step and each student is then taught using the number of steps they require to learn. Some students require going through all the steps while others can skip over some of the steps and still understand. In addition, the presentation of the material is constructed in multiple ways so that it is presented to the student in a manner that is useful for the student.  For example, we have 15 different ways to teach simple counting from 1 to 20.  Each student is exposed to all 15 methods but they will end up using two or three to master the concept.

Evaluation of the student's assimilation of the material is critical to the success of any program. In traditional teaching we rely on homework and end testing to determine performance of each student.  In Agile Teaching, we make extensive use of technology to provide continuous measurement of each student's performance and are therefore able to react much faster and modify the presentation of the material of even the sequence of material. A core concept of Agile Teaching is the concept of evidence based teaching. Decisions are based on the scientific interpretation of data and not theories of learning, teacher preferences or anecdotal information.