City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law Natalie Gomez

Effective teaching approaches

Effective Teaching / July 13, 2017

i-hgc5LDZ-L.jpgIn other words, the teacher in the room matters immensely. That belief precedes every choice we make and will continue to make around teacher training.

The Aspire model for teacher development and effectiveness is increasingly viewed as the national model. Developed through the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Aspire’s process for training and supporting teachers draws upon significant research as well as the organization’s nearly eighteen years of insights about what works and what doesn’t.

Aspire is not a teacher-training institute – it is an ecosystem of schools preparing every single student for college. Achieving that goal requires having talented, tenacious, and collaborative adults focused on student learning every day.

The Elements of Aspire's Teacher Effectiveness Model

teachers.jpgAs you might imagine, we have many internal resources for defining, implementing, and evaluating the model itself. Here on our website, we’d like to share a few features of our teaching rubric with you:

Aspire Instructional Rubric

The process of teacher observation and feedback is core to our College for Certain mission. Just as teachers help their students know what to work on in pursuit of certain learning goals, our principals help teachers know what to work on in their teaching journey. Ultimately, principals are not the only ones judging that effectiveness. We believe that indicators of teaching effectiveness should include:

  • Classroom observations (formal and mini)
  • Student growth data (individual and school-wide)
  • Feedback from students themselves
  • Feedback from parents and families (school-wide)
  • Feedback from colleagues

AspireBMA31-3688.jpgThe formal domains of the rubric are:

  1. Data-Driven Planning and Assessment
  2. Classroom Learning Environment
  3. Instruction
  4. Professional Responsibilities
  5. Partnerships, Community and Family

The rubric aims to codify these big-picture teaching elements:


‘Great teaching’ blends things like classroom management, building a strong classroom community of trust and tenacity, executing consistently smooth transitions, and more. Learn more about Aspire's Teacher Residency Program ›


In addition to running a tight ship, it’s imperative that teachers master the fundamentals of how to deliver instruction using a variety of verbal tools, technology, physical set-ups, and more (e.g., how to conduct a guided reading lesson). Read more about Time and Space ›