Powerful learning for educators. Every student succeeding. Equitable change for all.
What is the Institute for Learning?
The Institute for Learning (IFL) works to ensure that every student – especially those traditionally underserved due to income, race, and language – has access to high-level texts, tasks, and high-quality learning opportunities to build the critical thinking and deep reasoning skills that are required for success. We believe that the way to achieve equitable and sustainable change is to focus on coherent, evidence-based learning for all educators across an educational system.
“When a four-year-old Head Start student tells you that he is an herbivore and not a carnivore and explains why, not only do you marvel but it helps to confirm that the training, coaching, new philosophy, materials, and time invested with the teachers and the management staff certainly had a tremendous benefit. This investment started as our Head Start Program examined the results in language acquisition of our dual language program. We realized that we needed to improve our approach to language and literacy development. We partnered with the Institute for Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. The Institute staff planned with us and brought to us the expertise that helped our staff to enhance the language and literacy skills of our three and four-year-old children, the teaching practices of our teachers, and the knowledge of our management staff.”
Dr. Blanca Enriquez, former Director Office of Head Start, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
What We Do
The Principles of Learning are a set of theory and research-based statements that form the foundation of the IFL's work and are designed to help educators analyze and improve teaching and learning for all students. Learn more about the Principles of Learning.
Accountable Talk® is a particular type of academically productive talk that has been shown to improve student learning. For classroom talk to promote learning it must be accountable to the learning community, to accurate and appropriate knowledge, and to rigorous thinking. Read more about Accountable Talk.
The IFL's Content-Focused Coaching® (CFC) model maximizes the coaches' role as an instructional support for teachers in a content area. We take a systemic approach to supporting districts in using coaches effectively to advance student learning in ELA/literacy, mathematics, and science. Read more about our CFC model.
IFL fellows collaborate with teachers and leaders in schools on continuous improvement projects. These projects identify content-based problems of practice, determine their root causes, define goals and a theory of action to address the goals. Through the course of the rapid inquiry cycles, participants develop interventions and collect data to assess those interventions. Read more about our work with continuous improvement.
"The only way to achieve this higher level of skill and ability in the population at large is to make sure that all students, not just a privileged and select few, learn the high-level, symbolic thinking skills that our society requires. Equity and Excellence, classically viewed as competing goals must now be treated as a single aspiration."
-Lauren Resnick, From Aptitude to Effort