School culture is the set of a shared beliefs, values, practices, expectations, and relationships that create the ‘atmospheric conditions’ in which student learning takes place. Those conditions have as comprehensive an effect on learning outcomes as climatic conditions have on agriculture. Changing, improving (let alone transforming) school culture is very difficult to do, and it requires an approach that is as fundamental as providing a guiding principle for all curriculum and implementation practices, attached to the training and support that can make that principle real.
Argument-centered instruction is cross-disciplinary; every teacher in every department can and should be organizing their instruction around students making arguments about essential questions or problems at the core of a unit’s content. Argument-Centered Education transforms school culture by instilling and helping implement a system of instructional improvement that is as inherently rigorous as it is student-oriented and engaging. In argument-centered schools, teachers across subject areas employ argument-based methods that are parallel and aligned, though at the same time discipline-specific and student-differentiated. Students discern consistent expectations and learn college-readying skills, along with a regularized academic vocabulary rooted in the core academic function that underlies all of higher education: argument.
In some school partnerships, Argument-Centered Education works with every teacher on staff and the impact on the entirety of a school culture is direct. In others, ACE works with a cohort of teacher-leaders (sometimes this is the instructional leadership team), across departments, who become argument pedagogy experts and lead the process of disseminating their new (or upgraded) set of instructional practices throughout the teaching faculty. Argument-Centered Education tailors each partnership by sitting down with administrative leadership to meet the needs and comport with cultural or structural factors of the specific school or district. But in every case the impact of our work is to instigate inter-educator discussions, sharings, and collaborations around argument-centered instruction. As much as our direct services, these have a transformative impact on school culture.
Argument-Centered Education is committed to real and lasting education transformation. We are committed to making a deep and lasting positive impact on every teacher, every classroom, every administrator, every network, every district with which we partner.
Take a look at a few of the testimonials from teachers and administrators on the impact that Argument-Centered Education has had on school culture.