What is the TIEL Curriculum Design Wheel?  Just as GPS provides direction to drivers, the TIEL Curriculum Design Wheel is a map that makes intellectual skills and social-emotional characteristics visible to educators, students, and parents. 

The lower half of the TIEL Wheel focuses on the intellectual components of learning and teaching, while the upper half focuses on social-emotional characteristics.  Color coding shows the relationships between each individual thinking operation and its corresponding individual quality of character. 

While some may seek to limit curriculum and resources, Teaching for Intellectual and Emotional Learning (TIEL) opens new possibilities for planning balanced learning experiences for students.

Cognition and Reflection

Cognition and Reflection are related through their roles in acquiring and processing information. Cognition is the thinking operation through which information and experiences are acquired. This includes observation, discovery, awareness, comprehension, understanding, and various kinds of research. Reflection is the space in which that information is connected and organized leading to deeper self-knowledge. What insight do I have?  What have I learned about myself?

Memory and Empathy

Memory and Empathy are related through the connection between one’s personal experiences and the feelings one has for others. Memory is more than recall. Memory facilitates making connections between old and new information and stores social-emotional information that influences one’s capacity for Empathy. It is through remembering experiences of caring, either directly or vicariously, that we learn to be caring individuals.

Evaluation and Ethical Reasoning

Evaluation and Ethical Reasoning form the central core of the TIEL Wheel. They are related through the skills they have in common. Both Evaluation and Ethical Reasoning involve the self-regulatory skills of planning, decision-making, self-evaluation, and self-evaluation, skills best taught through project work. Ethical Reasoning requires that empathy, honesty, appreciation, and respect for others are included in the processes of decision-making and planning. These components are the most challenging to teach and learn!

Convergent Thinking and Mastery

Convergent Thinking is related to Mastery through the kinds of expectations involved. In school, Convergent Thinking and Mastery are both associated with one right answer and meeting expectations and standards most often set by others. This type of thinking is at the center of instruction in most schools. Students who fail to Master established expectations can experience negative effects on their social-emotional well-being and capacity to learn. Students whose abilities to learn require more challenging instruction can experience similar feelings of discouragement, frustration, and hopelessness in the classroom. Education in the 21st century must go beyond this!

Divergent Thinking and Appreciation

Divergent Thinking and Appreciation are related through open-mindedness and the ability to appreciate the differences in the experiences of others. Divergent Thinking includes the skills of creative thinking, fluency, flexibility, originality, and imagination. The ability to think divergently increases one’s capacity for Appreciation of humanity and nature. Like the skills found in the Evaluation and Ethical Reasoning components, students best learn Divergent Thinking skills and Appreciation through active, student-managed project work.