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.

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 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 Thinking—fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration—are similar to Appreciation for the originality and elaboration found in humanity and nature.