What Is the TIEL Institute?

The TIEL Institute offers a uniquely balanced approach to learning and teaching that addresses the requirements of 21st century education. Teaching for Intellectual and Emotional Learning (TIEL) brings together the intellectual and social emotional components of learning and teaching. The TIEL Curriculum Design Wheel represents five fundamental thinking processes needed for successful learning and five social-emotional characteristics we want students to develop.

Who Can Benefit from TIEL Institute Services?

The TIEL Institute offers individual learning support for students, educational workshops for parents, and professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators. When those involved in the education of a child understand thinking and social emotional components of learning, they are better able to meet new educational goals.

The TIEL Institute helps

  • Students become self-organized learners, taking more responsibility for their own learning
  • Parents connect more effectively with their child’s education
  • Teachers plan curriculum and instruction that teaches thinking and helps students develop positive social emotional characteristics
  • Administrators provide leadership that supports an intellectually rich and social-emotionally safe environment in which teachers can help students develop thinking processes and qualities of character to their fullest potential

About Us

Columbia University, has a broad and deep background in education. Her teaching experience includes preschool, deaf, elementary, and gifted education. She has worked as a staff developer, in university teacher preparation, and as an administrator. Based on her experience in education and as a parent, she developed the conceptual framework of Teaching for Intellectual and Emotional Learning (TIEL®)

The TIEL Design Model

21st Century Educational Standards

Teaching for Intellectual and Emotional Learning (TIEL) is a model for guiding curriculum development and instructional planning needed to meet new educational standards. Schools in the 21st century must prepare students in new basic skills. These include the ability to sort and sift through information, plan and evaluate, think creatively and flexibly, appreciate diversity, and make ethical decisions.

Standards for K-12 students and standards for teacher preparation programs include many of these new basic skills that require a more complex approach to teaching and learning. Complex teaching and learning involves the purposeful teaching of thinking operations involved in the new basic skills integrated with social-emotional learning. At the same time, complex teaching prepares students in the traditional basic skills of reading, writing, and math.

TIEL provides a framework that helps educators, parents, and students understand the new basic skills. TIEL supports teachers and administrators in implementing complex teaching that leads to complex learning.

TIEL, however, is not a layer to be added onto an already over-burdened school day. Instead, it is a foundation that supports and extends meaningful work already taking place in the classrooms.

TIEL helps teachers become conscious of invisible thinking and emotional processes that are important to teaching and learning, but rarely made explicit. When teachers become conscious of these processes they are able to purposefully integrate them into curriculum and instruction.

TIEL brings balance to curriculum design that supports complex teaching and learning. The TIEL model helps teachers design project-based curriculum that purposefully teaches self-management skills of decision making, planning, and self-evaluation. TIEL helps educators understand these thinking skills and others necessary to complex learning. Using TIEL as a framework for curriculum design helps teachers balance content and process. TIEL helps teachers create learning experiences that span several basic thinking operations. When teachers plan curriculum using the TIEL framework, they create a classroom environment that encourages intellectual, emotional, and character development.

TIEL facilitates communication about teaching and learning. It helps students understand and discuss their learning by giving teachers a language with which to communicate about thinking and qualities of character. When students are consciously aware of and can name the thinking processes they are asked to use, they have a way to link those processes to other subject areas or to experiences in their lives outside of school. Students, who clearly understand how to make decisions, plan, and self-evaluate as they create projects, have ownership in their learning. Using TIEL, students become empowered, motivated, and self-directed. Teachers gain a control over their teaching that they have not previously experienced. 

TIEL Services

The TIEL Institute offers individual learning support for students, workshops for parents, professional development opportunities for educators and administrators, and support for teacher education programs.

Individual Student Services

The TIEL Institute helps students master skills necessary for school success

These include:

  • Self-organization skills that help students focus, make decisions, plan and complete projects, manage assignments, and learn to self-evaluate school work
  • Basic academic skills in reading, writing, and math
  • Prepare for SAT writing assessment
  • Confidence and self-motivation

Who can benefit from individual student services of the TIEL Institute?

  • Students who need self-organization skills
  • Students who struggle with basic academic skills
  • Students with learning disabilities
  • Students with ADHD
  • Gifted students

How does TIEL help students become self-organized learners?

Using school assignments, research projects, and/or individual interests, students will learn:

  • Leadership skills of envisioning, decision making, planning, self-evaluation
  • Time management skills
  • How to manage project work
  • How to think more creatively
  • How to set and use criteria, make decisions, and evaluate school work
  • How to advocate for own learning needs
  • How to improve communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking

Workshops for Parents

The TIEL Institute offers workshops for parents. As parents, we have little preparation for the important role of supporting our children in their education. The purpose of a TIEL Parent Workshop is to help parents become effective advocates for their children’s education. The TIEL Institute prepares parents with a knowledge of schools, teaching, and learning that helps them connect more effectively with their child’s education. When parents understand the learning needs of their child, they can advocate for the education they need. When parents understand the kind of education needed in today’s education, they can advocate for more complex learning opportunities in their child’s school.

Parent workshops can be structured around the needs of a specific group. Parents will learn to:

  • Understand intellectual and emotional aspects of learning
  • Discuss your child’s educational needs with his or her teacher
  • Discuss curriculum
  • Ask questions of teachers and administrators that gain important information about learning and teaching
  • Set criteria that assists you in choosing a school for your child

Professional Development for Teachers

The TIEL Institute provides professional development for teachers in K-12 public and private schools, as well as preschools, and after school programs. Professional Development is designed to help teachers meet the challenges of new learning standards, plan school goals, meet complex learning needs of students, teach new concepts of curriculum design and facilitate mastery of new instructional skills involved in complex teaching. Professional learning sessions and strategies are tailored to fit your group’s specific learning needs.

  • Urban Public Schools
  • Suburban Public Schools
  • Private and Parochial Schools
  • Preschool
  • After School Programs

How Does TIEL Help Educators Meet the Needs of Their Students?

  • TIEL helps teachers integrate the teaching of thinking and social-emotional learning into their curriculum
  • TIEL helps teachers integrate thinking and social-emotional learning into behavior management
  • TIEL helps teachers discuss thinking and learning with students
  • TIEL provides tools for teaching students the self-organization skills needed to manage project work
  • TIEL helps teachers meet standards that include the teaching of thinking
  • TIEL provides teachers and administrators with a valuable tool that facilitates observation and assessment

Professional Development Options

  • Full faculty workshops
  • Seminars for department or grade levels
  • Long-term consultation including large group presentations, small group and individual coaching, and follow-up
  • Introductory presentations to management or administrative teams
  • Seminars for administrators and program developers

Professional Development for Administrators

The TIEL Institute provides professional development for administrators in K-12 public and private schools, as well as preschools, and after school programs. Professional Development is designed to help administrators meet the challenges of new learning standards, plan school goals, meet complex learning needs of students, teach new concepts of curriculum design and facilitate mastery of new instructional skills involved in complex teaching. Professional Learning sessions and strategies are tailored to fit your group’s specific learning needs.

  • Urban Public Schools
  • Suburban Public Schools
  • Private and Parochial Schools
  • Preschools
  • After School Programs

Professional Development Options

  • Full faculty workshops
  • Seminars for department or grade levels
  • Long-term consultation including large group presentations, small group and individual coaching, and follow-up
  • Introductory presentations to management or administrative teams
  • Seminars for administrators and program developers

Teacher Education Programs

The TIEL Institute offers profession development programs that help teacher educators prepare candidates to plan curriculum and instruction that include the teaching of thinking and social emotional learning. These include how to:

  • Use TIEL to teach candidates to plan lessons and project-based units of study;
  • Plan lessons that prepare candidates for perfomance-based evaluation for certification, e.g., the edTPA adopted by several states;
  • Prepare teacher candidates for more rigorous teacher evaluations;
  • Prepare candidates who can balance thinking and emotional learning; convergent and divergent thinking in their classroom curriculum.

TIEL: The Book

Teaching for Intellectual and Emotional Learning (TIEL):
A Model for Creating Powerful Curriculum

by Christy Folsom

Published by Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2009

Responsibility, compassion, and self-direction are the kind of balanced, common sense characteristics that both teachers and students should develop. Yet, in an environment of high stakes testing, common sense and educational balance are often lost amidst constant test preparation. Teaching for Intellectual and Emotional Learning (TIEL): A Model for Creating Powerful Curriculum will help teachers and teacher educators meet their goals of creating motivating, engaging learning experiences while focusing on mastery of basic skills and content knowledge as well as intellectual and social-emotional development.

Sharing the experiences of real teachers who changed their teaching and helped their students understand their learning and develop skills of self-direction and collaboration, Folsom introduces a powerful visual model that helps teachers develop curriculum that meets and exceeds the standards. New ways of planning lessons and developing project-based units that focus on developing thinking skills and social-emotional learning are presented. The TIEL model makes the fundamental intellectual and social-emotional processes that underlie effective teaching and learning accessible to teacher educators, teachers, and students in gifted, special, and general education.

Table of Contents

Introduction • Codification • Codification of Thinking and Social-Emotional Processes • What Is TIEL? • Consciousness • Consciousness of Thinking and Social-Emotional Processes • Teacher and Student Understanding • Communication • Communication of Thinking and Social-Emotional Processes • Challenges of Classroom Context • Teaching Self-Organization Skills • Students Becoming Teachers • Curriculum • Courage to Teach Self-Organization Skills • Freedom from the Fear Factor • Creating Complex Projects • Transformations in Thinking • Connections • Theory and Thinking • Connections and Application • Conclusion

Curriculum Development

Project-based curriculum can be developed to support learning for all children, including gifted learners. As examples, view PowerPoint presentations and materials presented at recent conferences:

View PowerPoint presentations given at conferences and TIEL teaching tools:

2009 NAGC (Creating Order out of Chaos)

2011 NCSS (If I Had Learned Social Studies…)

2012 NCSS (Gimme a C!!!)

2013 AACTE (Teaching Candidates to Plan Lessons)

The TIEL Curriculum Design Wheel

The TIEL Curriculum Design Wheel is the graphic representation of the TIEL model. Complex teaching and learning at the TIEL Institute is based on the TIEL Curriculum Design Wheel framework that brings together fundamental intellectual and social-emotional components important to teaching and learning. The lower half of the framework focuses on the intellectual components of learning and teaching, while the upper half focuses on the social-emotional components. 

Thinking Operations

Each of the five thinking operations is important in a balanced curriculum. Students need learning activities in each of the five operations. Parents need to know that their child is learning skills within each of the five thinking operations. Teachers need to plan learning activities that teach the thinking skills within each component. Administrators need to provide leadership that insures that learning experiences in all five thinking operations are an important part of the curriculum in their schools.

Cognition involves inquiry. This thinking operation includes gathering information through questioning, observation, listening, experiencing, and researching. Cognition also includes discovery, awareness, comprehension, understanding, and knowing.

Cognition and School Subjects

Cognition is involved in all school subjects. In preparing lessons teachers plan for students to gather information in a variety of ways. Read-a-louds, reading, listening, chalkboard, overhead or electronic presentations, films, role play, observation, hands-on experiences with objects and materials, and student presentations are some of the ways students gain information and make discoveries.

Relationship between Cognition and Reflection

Cognition and Reflection are related through the roles they play in processing information. Information is acquired through Cognition. This information is connected and organized through Reflection.

Memory involves storage of information. Memory also plays an important role in making connections between new and previously learned information.

Memory and School Subjects

Within any school subject, students use Memory to recall, recite, and remember the concepts, terminology, and information they are learning. Making connections is another important function of Memory. Prior knowledge helps students made connections to new concepts. To make connections students need experience with a wide variety of materials and information.

Relationship between Memory and Empathy

Memory involves the storage of social-emotional information as well as academic information. Memories of social-emotional experiences influence one’s capacity for Empathy. It is through remembering experiences of caring, that we learn to be caring individuals.

Evaluation includes comparing, decision making, planning, judgment, and assessment based on satisfying criteria.

Evaluation and School Subjects

The thinking operation Evaluation involves the self-organization skills of criteria setting, decision making, planning, and self-evaluation. With careful planning, teachers can teach these skills within any subject area. In language arts students can develop self-organization skills by setting criteria for writing or stating strategies for reading. In math, students can plan how to solve a problem and consciously make decisions about which strategy to use in the solution.

Social studies, science, and art projects offer particularly rich opportunities to learn the thinking and social emotional skills involved in self-organized learning. Students can make decisions about and plan what information to include in projects and how the final project will be presented. After presenting projects, students can self-evaluate their own projects and those of their peers.

Relationship between Evaluation and Ethical Reasoning

Evaluation is related to Ethical Reasoning through the skills they have in common. The skills of setting criteria, making decisions, planning, and assessing are important in the processes of both Evaluation and Ethical Reasoning. However, making ethical decisions requires consideration for others in the decision-making process.

Convergent Thinking is the focused production of information where there is one correct answer. Convergent Thinking also includes logical thinking, organizing, and sequencing information.

Convergent Thinking and School Subjects

Convergent Thinking, the production of right answers, is the most prevalent thinking operation found in school. Right answers are emphasized in reading comprehension, spelling, math, social studies and science. Logical thinking and sequencing are emphasized in problem-solving. As students progress through school, they often become increasingly convergent in their thinking as standardized test scores and grades are emphasized.

Relationship between Convergent Thinking and Mastery

Convergent Thinking is related to Mastery through the kinds of expectations involved in both. Convergent Thinking and Mastery are most often associated with meeting specific expectations and standards set by others. Convergent Thinking requires right answers, sequencing, and logical thinking in established disciplines, while Mastery involves meeting standards of performance or knowledge defined by others.

Divergent Thinking refers to creative thinking that involves a broad and varied production. Divergent Thinking includes the production of options, fluency, flexibility, originality, and risk-taking.

Divergent Thinking and School Subjects

Divergent Thinking can be taught through any subject, yet divergent thinking is rarely taught in school. Art offers a way to teach divergent thinking through observing artwork as well as by creating a work of art. Other possible ways to teach divergent thinking through academic subjects include the following. How many different sentences can you write using one of your spelling words? How many different ways can you solve this math problem? Think of all the alternatives the character in this story might have considered.

Project work includes many opportunities for students to use divergent thinking. Students can think of multiple options for depicting their researched information. Students can learn flexibility when a project does not go exactly as planned. Projects also present opportunities for students to take risks as they try new ways of developing a project.

Relationship between Divergent Thinking and Appreciation

Divergent Thinking and Appreciation are related through core skills and dispositions. Creative thinking skills included in Divergent Thinking—fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration—are similar to Appreciation for the originality and elaboration found in humanity and nature.

Qualities of Character

Reflection includes quiet inner thinking, wondering, and insight that leads to an increase in self-knowledge. Reflection involves the connection and organization of information. Quiet reflection provides a space for connecting and organizing information acquired through experience and other means.

Reflection and School Subjects

Reflection in the school setting requires planning and commitment. There are opportunities for reflection in any subject. Students can connect and organize information and learn about themselves as learners while learning any discipline or skill. However, it is often difficult to make the quiet spaces available that students need to insightfully connect and organize information. Schedules are tight and there is much content to cover. Yet, teaching the process of reflection can give students the tools to make connections and organize information on their own.

Relationship between Reflection and Cognition

Reflection and Cognition are related through their roles in the processing of information. Cognition is the thinking operation through which information and experiences are acquired. Reflection is the space in which that information is connected and organized. 

Empathy includes caring—caring for yourself, for others, and for your work. It also includes giving help and showing kindness, respect, and courtesy to others.

Empathy and School Subjects

Empathy is one of the most important, and often one of the most challenging, social-emotional qualities that teachers help students develop. The classroom provides many opportunities for learning the caring behaviors that are necessary for forming and maintaining a community. Setting classroom room rules together helps establish clarity about the actions that are necessary to maintain a safe and supportive learning environment. Working with others in partnerships and groups can help students develop empathy for their peers. Helping students learn empathy involves being aware of how they have been cared for, how they show care for themselves, how they show care to others, and how they show care for their work and environment.

Relationship between Empathy and Memory

Empathy is learned from the storehouse of memories that influence social-emotional development. Through remembering experiences of caring, we learn to be caring individuals. As we empathize with others, the connections to our own experiences are strengthened and our capacity for empathy increases.

Ethical Reasoning, or moral reasoning, involves making decisions with careful consideration for others. Ethical reasoning requires the inclusion of empathy and appreciation for other beings in the decision-making process.

Ethical Reasoning and School Subjects

There are many opportunities for teaching Ethical Reasoning in the school setting. When teachers establish classroom rules and consequences with students, Ethical Reasoning can be taught. Making ethical decisions can be taught when teachers discuss behavior with students. Literature, social studies, and science offer many opportunities to teach ethical reasoning.

Relationship between Ethical Reasoning and Evaluation

Ethical Reasoning is related to Evaluation through the skills they have in common. Ethical Reasoning and Evaluation involves making decisions, judging, and assessing. Ethical Reasoning, however, requires the inclusion of honesty and respect for others into the decision-making process.

Mastery involves meeting expectations and standards. Mastery in learning usually involves specific answers or skills required by someone other than the learner.

Mastery and School Subjects

Mastery of skills and subject matter is an important goal of school. Mastery in basic skills and subject content is most often focused on convergent thinking measured through standardized testing. Mastery of school skills and subjects is strongly connected to social-emotional well-being. Therefore, during the school years, mastery in school subjects has a positive influence on social-emotional development. Students who are unable to attain mastery or show mastery through standardized testing can be negatively affected social-emotionally.

Relationship between Convergent Thinking and Mastery

Convergent Thinking is related to Mastery through the kinds of expectations involved in both. Convergent Thinking and Mastery are most often associated with meeting specific standards or expectations set by others. Convergent Thinking requires right answers, sequencing, and logical thinking in established disciplines, while Mastery involves meeting standards of performance or knowledge defined by others. Education in the 21st century requires Mastery that goes beyond convergent thinking and production. 

Appreciation involves sensitivity to the diversity found within humanity and nature. Appreciation includes valuing, understanding, and openness to difference.

Appreciation and School Subjects

Appreciation can be taught through any subject. Social Studies, Science, and Art offer rich opportunities for teaching appreciation. Project work in based on students’ interests helps students develop appreciation. Through projects in science, students learn to appreciate the natural world. Through projects in Social Studies, students learn to appreciate the culture and diversity of humanity.

Relationship between Appreciation and Divergent Thinking

Appreciation and Divergent Thinking are related through core dispositions and skills. Appreciation for the originality and elaboration found in humanity and nature involves the creative thinking skills-originality and elaboration-included in Divergent Thinking.

Relationships between Qualities of Character and Thinking Operations

The TIEL Curriculum Design Wheel shows relationships between intellectual (lower) and social-emotional aspects (upper) of learning and teaching. When a child’s intellectual needs are not appropriately met, his or her social-emotional development is affected. When a child’s social-emotional life is out of order, intellectual and academic achievements are affected.

Within the TIEL Curriculum Design Wheel, relationships exist between each individual thinking operation and a corresponding individual quality of character. These connections are indicated through color coding. 

Cognition and Reflection

Reflection and Cognition are related through their roles in the processing of information. Cognition is the thinking operation through which information and experiences are acquired. Reflection is the space in which that information is connected and organized.

Memory and Empathy

Memory stores the social-emotional information and experiences that influence one’s capacity for Empathy. It is through remembering experiences of caring, that we learn to be caring individuals. Empathy is learned from the storehouse of memories that influence social-emotional development. Through remembering experiences of caring, we learn to be caring individuals. As we empathize with others, the connecting cues to our own experiences are strengthened and our capacity for empathy increases.

Evaluation and Ethical Reasoning

Evaluation is related to Ethical Reasoning through the skills they have in common. Ethical Reasoning involves making decisions with consideration for others. Ethical Reasoning integrates the skills of defending choices with sound criteria and setting standards for evaluation, skills found within the thinking operation, Evaluation. Ethical Reasoning, however, requires the inclusion of honesty and respect for others into the decision-making process.

Convergent Thinking and Mastery

Convergent Thinking is related to Mastery through the kinds of expectations involved in both. Convergent Thinking and Mastery are most often associated with meeting specific standards and expectations set by others. Convergent Production involves correct answers, logical thinking, and sequencing in established disciplines, while Mastery involves meeting standards of performance or knowledge defined by others. Education in the 21st century requires Mastery that goes beyond convergent thinking and production.

Divergent Thinking and Appreciation

Divergent Thinking and Appreciation are related through core skills and dispositions. Creative thinking skills included in Divergent Thinkingfluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration—are similar to Appreciation for the originality and elaboration found in humanity and nature.