A Tiering System for the Modern Classroom

Studies have shown higher learner engagement can be achieved through active learning and collaboration. This system is designed to ensure there are opportunities for experiential learning across all classroom types. 

 

Lecture hall in the University Union
CLAW Tier 0
Lecture

Passively inhibits or prevents collaboration and group work. Usually has fixed desks and chairs or fixed-row, stadium-style seating with tiered floors. Primary purpose is lecture-style instruction. Few or no writing surfaces available.

Tier 0 Activity Examples
  • Designing/Planning - Planning a process
  • Listening/Processing - Listening to an instructor lecture on a topic or talk through a problem.
  • Observing - Watching an instructor solve a problem on a board or observing a dance routine.
  • Presenting - Public Speaking
  • Reading/Studying - Receiving text-based information. Reading a book, article, procedures, or peer writing.
  • Reflecting -Thinking about how ones personality might influence group dynamics; writing or talking about how your background impacted your choice of college major.
  • Writing - Analyzing, transcribing, or transforming information through writing. Writing a paper, essay, or report, taking lecture notes.
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Classroom with fixed tables and movable chairs
CLAW Tier 1
Enhanced Lecture

Movable/rotating seating with fixed desks, conducive to small group discussion. Multiple writing surfaces for students to share if needed. Primary function is still lecture, but fosters quick group conversation when needed.

Tier 1 Activity Examples
  • Creating/Constructing - Applying knowledge/skills- to create a product-Sewing a garment, making a model.
  • Designing/Planning - Planning a process, Jigsaw
  • Discussing - Dialoguing in-person or digitally with one or more people.
  • Think/pair/share - small group discussion about the meaning of a reading; practicing speaking in a language class.
  • Observing - Receiving visual information. Watching a video of children playing, observing a dance routine
  • Problem-solving
  • Writing
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Classroom with movable tables and chairs
CLAW Tier 2
Flexible Lecture

Easily movable desks and chairs facilitate a reconfigurable room. Multiple writing surfaces on multiple walls. Primary uses place equal weight on both lecture and group work.


Tier 2 Activity Examples
  • Writing - Analyzing, transcribing, or transforming information through writing.
  • Reflecting - on intentional questioning od assumptions or beliefs.
  • Listening/processing - Listening and talking through a problem
  • Discussing - small group discussion, think/pair/share.
  • Designing/Planning - Planning a process through.
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A classroom with projectors, many displays mounted on the walls, and movable tables and chairs
CLAW Tier 3
Active Learning

Collaborative technology built into room infrastructure. Enables SCALE-UP pedogagy (or "flipped" classroom). Primary focus is on group work but lecturing is still a valid method of instruction. May not necessarily have movable desks due to technology restraints.

Tier 3 Activity Examples
  • Think/pair/share; small group discussion about the meaning of a reading; practicing speaking in a language class.
  • Listening to an instructor lecture on atopic or talk through a problem.
  • Watching an instructor solve a problem on a board; watching a video of children playing; observing a dance routine.
  • Music or dance performance; acting out a play; public speaking, performing a procedure.
View Rooms
A laboratory with workbenches and a projector
CLAW Tier 4
Hands-On Laboratory

Traditional STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Mathematics) laboratories. Includes wet labs (Chemistry, Physics, Anatomy & Physiology, Chemical/Bio Engineering, etc.) and dry labs (Physics, Electrical/Mech. Engineering, Art, Music, etc.). Usually department owned, funded, and operated. Primary purpose is a highly specialized learning environment focusing on hands-on learning, not lecture or group work.

Tier 4 Activity Examples
  • Designing/Planning - Designing an experiment, architectural structure, or prosthetic limb.
  • Creating/Constructing - making a model of a virus; sewing a garment; painting a picture.
  • Problem-solving - combining reactants in a chemistry lab; searching for information online; conducting qualitative interviews; diagnosing medical issues.
  • Observation - Watching an instructor solve a problem on a board; watching a video of children playing; observing a dance routine.
  • Writing - Drawing a table on a white board; writing out the solution to a math problem; writing a paper, essay, or report, taking lecture notes.
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A theater with a wall-to-wall screen showing an abstract visual
CLAW Tier 5
Immersive Technology

Experimental, immersive technology - AR, VR, "inside the content" type technology to offset high-cost or high-risk hands-on educational activities (e.g. Biology, Chemistry, Medicine, etc.). Mixed-reality technology. Experimental tech to enhance active learning, not necessarily collaboration. Usually department owned, funded, and operated. Primary purpose is a highly specialized learning environment focusing on hands-on learning, not lecture or group work.