Elastic Proximity: A Powerful Tool for Considered Teaching Practice

[2-Hour Virtual Workshop] Thursday, August 3, 2023

Teachers need a diverse set of tools to plan for and reflect on their teaching practice (as opposed simply to their teaching content). As best teaching practice moves to more of a skills-based focus, teachers need a clear, simple tool to describe not just the outcomes of a class but the role of the teacher in that class. Elastic Proximity can be that tool.

Developed at EXPLO Elevate and refined through work with a number of schools, Elastic Proximity is an approach to teaching in which the teacher makes decisions about delivery, student guidance, and student skill development based on the ideal proximity of the teacher to students, of the students to other students, and of the individual student to the teacher.

This is a two-hour virtual course, during which participants will learn the basics of the tool, practice using it, and receive immediate feedback from the other participants.

SIGN-UP for August 3

Questions we will explore:

  • Where should I be proximate to my students to support their learning best?
  • Where do my students need to be relative to one another to support their learning best?
  • How might I use diagrams in my curriculum design to create more collaboration and active learning?
  • How might I quickly storyboard a class in order to maximize student learning and engagement?

Skill Development:

  • Learn a technique for quickly diagramming and storyboarding your lessons plans using simple shapes and forms – (no artistic skill required)
  • Learn how to use maps as a way to collaborate and plan with other teachers
  • Learn how to use maps as a tool for classroom observation and documentation
  • Learn how students might employ Elastic Proximity diagrams to reflect on their learning.

At the center of this approach is the Elastic Proximity diagram — a map of the people and the learning environment. Creating a map makes it easy to imagine different ways of grouping, moving, and arranging connections. By mapping student movement in the same way a coach might map player movement on a field or court, teachers can create similar “plays” that encourage collaboration and participation.

In this workshop, we will explore Elastic Proximity diagrams both as a tool for curriculum development and as a reflection tool for documentation. You will map a unit of instruction as it is now and use diagrams to visualize a spectrum of choices for creating a more active learning environment for your next lesson.

SIGN-UP for August 3

Our recommendation: Do this with your faculty to increase your shared vocabulary of teaching and learning. This would be ideal for a short Professional Development Session during opening school year faculty meetings. We are happy to work with you on scheduling options for your faculty.