Step 2

In a group identify a shared interest, purpose or goal and determine the group’s prior knowledge of this topic. Identify the Standard that will help the group address this shared goal. Make clear the connection between the class focus and individuals’ needs.

Guiding Questions

  • What is the class as a group excited or concerned about?
  • How can we come to consensus on a shared priority that can focus our work as a group?
  • What EFF Standard will we use to focus this activity?
  • What do learners already know and what can they do in relation to the Standard? In relation to the shared goal?
  • What else will students need to know or learn to carry out this activity?
  • What can I do to help learners see how working toward these shared goals can help them meet their individual needs?

Step 2 addresses the group learning situation and the need to come to a consensus on a group’s shared priority or real life need that can focus the learning activities. EFF’s attention to individual goals could lead some to think that EFF is about individualized learning. On the contrary, EFF recognizes that learning is a social process and that individual goals can be addressed within a community of learners. Step 2 prepares the group to plan and work together on a learning activity.

The tools for Step 2 help groups of learners identify common needs and interests that can frame their learning. Active application of skills and knowledge contributes to effective learning. Contextualizing instruction in real activities supports the transfer of learning to other areas of students’ lives.

It is important, in this step, for students to understand how the shared priority also furthers their individual learning needs. The tools in this step show you how to cluster individual goals to find a shared one, or to first identify a common priority and link it back to individuals’ goals. Whichever direction best suits the class, this is another place where transparency is key. Students must clearly understand how the group learning activities were chosen and how they will help them develop the skills they need for their own purposes.