Cultivate the T-Profile in K-12

Build cross-boundary competencies such as collaboration, communication, teamwork, and networking.

Photo of Judy Walton
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T-shaped people have depth in both a specific discipline and system, as well as breadth across social, communication, and relational skills. In describing how learning is organized for children, John Dewey asserted that students do not classify learning into categories or subjects until they are taught to do so, and that learning needs to be more free and boundless (Dewey, 1902). Instead of following this advice, most schools continue to perpetuate the subject-based, silo-style of learning, and compound it with using the same format to organize teachers.


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Photo of Jessica Lura

Love the graphic.  How do you encourage T-shaped people when you teach? What does this look like in the classroom?

Photo of Judy Walton

I think it is all about working with high school teachers to reflect on their identity. For example, am I a history teacher, or am I teaching historians? The answer changes the dynamic. If I am teaching historians, then all of those cross-competencies are crucial components in the teaching and learning that takes place.