By Sam Piha
Several years ago, Bill Penuel (formerly at SRI International) and I developed a Framework for Promoting Learning in Afterschool Programs. This framework, like the LIAS project, focused on learning so as to capture both the interest of afterschool leaders and education leaders. This framework focused on learning that contributes to school success. When I dug it up recently to review, I was pleasantly surprised how well it held up, given all the new research on learning and the brain, character skills, grit, tenacity, and social emotional skills that influence learning. The citations are not so recent but the ideas and concepts are still relevant. You can view a series of Power Point slides that align the framework here.
University of Colorado
Because we know that the practices of the organizations that oversee the programming influence the quality of the program, we list the organizational practices that must be in play to promote learning in afterschool.
Access to high quality resources for organizing curriculum
- Programs need access to high quality educational materials that are engaging to youth and that youth perceive as authentic, rather than as “school-like.”
- Programs can increase this access by actively seeking such curricula through professional networks, the Internet, and by co-creating curricula with youth and staff.
Staff preparation and ongoing professional development targeted to academic assistance
- Staff may need special preparation to lead homework assistance centers, tutor youth, or orchestrate enrichment activities. They need to be prepared to answer students’ questions and to help students develop strategies to regulate their own learning.
- Organizations can build staff capacity by hiring staff with teaching credentials or experience and by equipping existing staff with knowledge and skills from research about effective instructional practices.
Policies and strategies that promote consistency and persistence in participation
- Policies to promote consistency and persistence in youth participation are necessary, because regular attendance is a pre-condition for effectiveness.
- Organizations can establish norms for participation among youth, procedures for follow-up when youth are absent, and strive to provide a variety of programming options to youth to motivate attendance.