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The goal of classroom teaching is to help students learn worthwhile knowledge and skills and develop the ability to use what they learn for their own purpose.

By "knowledge and skills," we mean understanding in depth big ideas that have contributed to the cultures, political systems, economies, and problems of the twenty-first century, and the development of thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving skills. This means that teaching should help students to analyze texts critically, compose persuasive arguments and execute them effectively both orally and in writing. Teaching should support the development of scientific analysis, mathematical reasoning, and students' ability to understand and respond to complex problems. Teaching should also help students appreciate the perspectives of diverse cultures and should broaden and change whose knowledge and experience is valued. This includes studying the ideas, histories, and literature of peoples and cultures that have not been included in dominant narratives or in the construction of socio-political systems. In short, teaching should support the development of academic and personal agency for students, enabling them to participate in a democracy and supporting their social and emotional development.

All students deserve the opportunity to learn at high levels.

We believe that all students have the capacity to learn, and that teachers are obligated to work assiduously to ensure equitable access to worthwhile learning and opportunities for personal development.

Learning is an active sense-making process.

We understand the process of learning, particularly the learning of challenging material, to be an active and interactive one on the part of students. We know the deepest and most lasting understanding and skill to come about as students encounter new ideas and skills, try them out, consider feedback from both the teacher and their peers and try again, and listen to and observe the similar attempts of their classmates. Rather than receiving new information passively or magically developing skills by watching others demonstrate them, students learn and grow through active sense-making and through practice.

Teaching is interactive with and constructed together with students.

Teaching is not the direct transmission of ideas to students. Teaching is instead strategic work to facilitate interactions between and among teachers, students and content (Cohen, Raudenbush, & Ball, 2003; Lampert, 2001). Students must learn for themselves, but teachers are responsible for maximizing the probability that each student learns. Skillful teaching deploys practices and techniques to ensure that students have generative and effective opportunities to grow. Such teaching entails appraising carefully what students know and care about and what they need to learn, and designing questions and tasks accordingly.

The contexts of classroom teaching matter, and teachers must manage and use them well.

Because the work that teachers and students do together in classrooms is influenced and sometimes determined by the school and local communities and by both local and national educational and policy contexts, the work for the teacher also includes managing the influence of broader environments on teaching and learning and using those contexts as resources for instruction.