1st Edition

Frame Shifting for Teachers Developing a Conscious Approach to Solving Persistent Teaching Dilemmas

By Brianna L. Kennedy, Amy S. Murphy Copyright 2024
    368 Pages 66 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

    368 Pages 66 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

    368 Pages 66 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

    Learn how you can successfully address persistent teaching dilemmas by reframing how you think about and respond to them. The authors show how adopting habits of mind, including curiosity and an asset-based teaching approach, is necessary for tackling teaching challenges more effectively and equitably. Chapters explain how you can then apply frame shifting by considering your dilemma in three domains - relationships, classroom management, and curriculum and instruction. Practical examples, exercises, and discussion questions throughout the book will help you apply the concepts to your own teaching situation. In addition, a bonus online study guide contains reproducible templates, additional examples, suggested answers, and more. Appropriate for teachers to read independently or through book studies and PLCs, the book will leave you with new strategies for changing your beliefs and reactions, and ultimately improving how you approach and reach your students.

    Section I: Foundations

    Chapter 1: Introduction         

    Chapter 2: Strengthening Foundational Habits of Mind

    Chapter 3: Frame Shifting

    Section II: The Domains of Teaching

    Chapter 4: Frame Shifting to the Domain of Relationships

    Chapter 5: Frame Shifting to the Domain of Classroom Management

    Chapter 6: Frame Shifting to the Domain of Curriculum and Instruction

    Section III: Putting It All Together

    Chapter 7: Engaging the Habits of Mind

    Chapter 8: Practicing Frame Shifting to the Three Domains of Teaching


    Brianna L. Kennedy is Professor of Education in the School of Education at the University of Glasgow. She studies the marginalization and belonging of students from nondominant social backgrounds. As a former middle school teacher, she prioritizes the bridging of theory, research, and practice. Dr. Kennedy taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District from 1998 to 2005.

    Amy S. Murphy is Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Theory and Practice at the University of Georgia. Her work focuses on justice-oriented teacher education, culturally responsive classroom management, and young adolescents. A former teacher of ten years in Florida, she maintains her connection to schools through a close school–university partnership in which she supports pre-service and in-service educators.

    "The typical book on classroom problems offers teachers a set of strategies for making things better, but never addresses how to think about such problems in an intentional, systematic way. Kennedy and Murphy’s book stands in sharp contrast by focusing on teachers’ beliefs and ways of thinking. The authors use the case of Ms. Nash, a sixth-grade science teacher whose students are “loud and rowdy,” as an organizing framework for their book. The way Ms. Nash thinks about her dilemma illustrates and brings to life three core concepts: habits of mind (the beliefs that influence how teachers perceive classroom dilemmas), domains of teaching (relationships, classroom management, and curriculum and instruction), and frame shifting (using the habits of mind to determine in which domain(s) the dilemma belongs).

    "Frame Shifting for Teachers is an absolute pleasure to read—something one rarely says about a textbook. The organization of the book is lucid and logical, the writing is straightforward and free of unnecessary jargon, and the numerous examples make the ideas clear and concrete. The inclusion of exercises throughout each chapter invites active engagement, and the online study guide allows readers to pursue content more deeply. Importantly, discussions of race and culture are not simply tacked on, but are well-integrated into the text and examined as critical components of many teaching dilemmas. Kennedy and Murphy are clearly committed to improving classroom life for students who are too often marginalized, misunderstood, and unnecessarily punished.

    "Years ago, I supervised a student teacher who was in despair over her students’ poor behavior during independent seatwork. My classroom observation, however, led me to conclude that her students were really very cooperative; given the boring, tedious worksheet she had assigned, I would have expected a lot more off-task behavior. When the student teacher and I met afterwards, I (insensitively) blurted out: “You don’t have a classroom management problem. You have an instructional problem!” In retrospect, I doubt that she found my statement helpful or supportive. How I wish I had known then about Frame Shifting for Teachers." Carol Weinstein, Professor Emerita, Department of Learning and Teaching, Rutgers Graduate School of Education

    “You will never see your teaching in the same way again.  In Frame Shifting for Teachers, Brianna Kennedy and Amy Murphy offer an incredibly nuanced yet practical framework for dissecting, situating, interconnecting, and ultimately reframing dilemmas that arise in classroom teaching.  From new educators to veterans to mentors, you can expect that this book will walk you through an inquiry process that you will want to use again and again not merely to improve your classroom instruction, but more broadly, to rattle what it means to teach.” Kevin Kumashiro, author of Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning toward Social Justice, 20th Anniversary Edition

    “There are thousands of research-based approaches being touted in the world of education right now, but they often miss the key ingredient that this duo of experts places front and center: the framing of our questions around teaching.  Educators often define their problems in ways that perpetuate the dynamics they sprouted from (e.g., “something is wrong with this method/circumstance/child”). With compassion and hope, this book offers a breadth of frameworks and strategies through detailed case studies that illustrate how to fundamentally transform the way we teach.” Chloe Winant, PhD, Secondary School Teacher, Alachua County Schools, Florida

    “This is a book for educators committed to building robust knowledge and effective practices with all students. If you want to know more about how to co-create powerful and sustainable relationships, effective classroom management, and opportunity-centered curriculum, and instruction practices, read this book. Frame Shifting for Teachers educates as it elevates the work of teaching.” H. Richard Milner IV, author of The Race Card: Leading the Fight for Truth in America’s Schools, and Professor of Education, Vanderbilt University

    Frame Shifting for Teachers is a wonderfully engaging guided process and a collegial philosophical push toward shifting the ideologies, understandings, and on-the-ground work of educators. It points us toward more mindful, more equitable school and classroom practices through a deep examination of everyday school and classroom dilemmas. I sat down to read this book and before long I was experiencing it instead, and as a result growing as an educator.” Paul C. Gorski, founder of the Equity Literacy Institute and co-author with Katy Swalwell of Fix Injustice, Not Kids and Other Principles for Transformative Equity Leadership

    Frame Shifting for Teachers: Developing a Conscious Approach to Solving Persistent Teaching Dilemmas offers the rare gift of speaking to educators who work across the teaching career spectrum. I can’t wait to use this book with the teachers and students in PK-12 school settings I work with to understand how teaching dilemmas are taken up in schools. And I’m just as excited to use it with the preservice teachers I teach in my college’s teacher preparation program, and the graduate students I work with who are emerging teacher educators. Brianna and Amy invite all of us to engage as active learners while reading. We are encouraged to work alongside the teachers featured in the book to identify and articulate our own dilemmas; and we are consistently held accountable to that personal work through suggestions for collaborations, objectives for learning, and interactive exercises. This book is a valuable resource that I am thrilled to have in my teaching toolkit.” Rachel Wolkenhauer, Associate Professor of Teacher Education, Penn State University

    “Being a teacher can supply endless epiphanies and abundant joy, but like anything worthwhile, you have to work at it to get there. In their new book, Drs. Kennedy and Murphy have shown us how. For both preservice and inservice teacher alike, Frame Shifting for Teachers demonstrates the value and process of resolving dilemmas in the classroom. This book is a needed contribution to the field because any teacher honest about her craft will likely admit a routine confrontation with dilemmas in her work—and often scant preparation to attend to them productively. In the daily haste and drama of teaching, thorny dilemmas are too often ignored or too quickly resolved. This can make problems worse, not go away. Fortunately, Frame Shifting gives us a way to seize on dilemmas as resources. Organized to support the busy teacher’s need for both evidence and guidance, Frame Shifting supplies a powerful toolchest to first identify and then fix recurring quandaries in one’s teaching. Challenging the way that educators are often taught to rely on problematic retributive, regurgitative, reactionary, compliance-driven, and control-oriented approaches to keep students in line and inspire their effort, Kennedy and Murphy show us how to use dilemmas to expose deeper truths about how we best learn and how we can most effectively teach. Their approach will help new and experienced teachers alike to detox from traditional methods, disturb baseless folk theories, and practice forms of curiosity that will enhance classroom relationships, student engagement, cultural responsiveness, and achievement motivation. By using dilemmas as opportunities to learn and grow, Kennedy and Murphy have given educators a program for professional invigoration. Read it and you’ll no longer lament the dilemmas you encounter — you’ll relish them.” Dr. Eric Toshalis, Independent Scholar & Education Consultant and author of Make Me! Understanding and Engaging Student Resistance in School (Harvard Education Press, 2015)

    “‘If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,’ the adage says. In a systematic process akin to the best mentoring, Frame Shifting helps teachers see how preexisting beliefs and commitments drive how they view problems in their classrooms. As teachers learn to look anew at what is happening, they can imagine alternative ways of interpreting and evaluating what they observe — and can find new more effective responses to persistent dilemmas.

    "Brianna Kennedy and Amy Murphy repeatedly ask their readers to shift the way they frame problems in an iterative process that promotes building classroom relationships, tailoring curriculum and instruction, and skillfully communicating classroom expectations. They don’t offer ‘quick fixes’ or lists of simple solutions to complex problems; only through careful reflection will teachers find their way to better teaching, the authors say. Infused with compassion for teachers and their students, their advice first guides readers to change the way they look at their classrooms, then helps them see what happens when they do so.” Kathleen Cushman and Laura Rogers, authors of Fires in the Middle School Bathroom


    “From beginning to end, Frame Shifting covers invaluable information that will greatly benefit teachers. The authors help us look deeply at our teaching dilemmas and provide strategies to help us shift our mindsets. It can be easy for teachers to develop habitual ways of working, and this approach helps us re-examine our classroom challenges with intentional thought and action. As an elementary teacher, I love the entire concept of the book and find its many examples from diverse classrooms to be relatable and realistic.” Nicola R. Colvil Ed.S, Elementary Teacher, Clarke County School District, Georgia


    “This book is a wonderful tool for teachers' practice-oriented case consultation and reflection. In my work with teachers facing pedagogical challenges, the presentations of concrete dilemmas, the focus on the central domains of teaching (especially classroom management and relationships), as well as the use of the stimulating questions presented were able to provide important insights for their own teaching practice.” Dr. Robin Junker, Clinical Psychologist at the Schlossklinik Proebsting in Borken, Germany, offering support focused on the retention of teachers facing burn-out.


    “Kennedy and Murphy’s Frame Shifting for Teachers: Developing a Conscious Approach to Solving Persistent Teaching Dilemmas presents a practical and accessible strategy for empowering educators with solutions to persistent classroom issues. What sets this book apart are Kennedy and Murphy’s relatable case examples and start-to-finish guided exercises that are grounded in equitable practices. Educators are left with the skills garnered to critically reflect upon issues in their classrooms and reframe their perceptions in order to better understand and address their teaching dilemmas and the socio-cultural context in which they occur. While this text undoubtedly serves to benefit all teachers, its contribution to teacher preparation is immense. As many challenges in the world of education persist, pre-service teachers often express concern for their ability to handle these challenges in their future classrooms. The frame shifting approach is a welcomed beacon of light for teacher educators seeking to instill in pre-service educators the efficacy, skills, and criticality needed to effectively address difficult classroom challenges. I envision teacher preparation programs as spaces for burgeoning teachers to hone these skills and strengthen what Kennedy and Murphy call the ‘habits of mind’ in a supportive environment. Equipping future educators with the tools early on to reframe complex dilemmas they may encounter in their classrooms will empower them to find equitable and just solutions that will strengthen their classroom communities and benefit all learners. This book and its study guide are an unparalleled contribution to education. Every educator who has felt powerless to an unwavering dilemma in your classroom–this book is for you.” Lisa M. Harrison, Ph.D., Professor and Interim Dean, The Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education, Ohio University; Co-Editor, Middle School Journal Board of Trustees Chair, Association for Middle Level Education


    “My advocacy for quality education has spanned many years and several phases: parent, business partner volunteer, grassroots organizer, and currently as an elected school board member.  I was so bothered by the persistent low academic achievement of groups of students that I ran for office with the goal of improving student outcomes.  In Frame Shifting for Teachers: Developing a Conscious Approach to Solving Persistent Teaching Dilemmas, the authors offer a profound and insightful guide to navigating these challenges with thoughtfulness and expertise.

    "What sets this book apart is its emphasis on developing a conscious approach to problem-solving. By encouraging educators to reflect on their teaching practices and fostering a deep understanding of the dynamics at play in the classroom, the authors equip readers with the tools needed to navigate and overcome challenges.

    "I am especially enthusiastic about the focus on marginalized students. This book recognizes the importance of not only understanding their unique needs but actively working towards closing the achievement gap. The strategies outlined within these pages are not just theoretical; they are a call to action for educators to make a real, measurable impact on the lives of the students who need it most.

    "Frame Shifting is a must-read for educators, administrators, and policymakers alike. It is a roadmap to a more inclusive and effective education system that strives for excellence for every student. I wholeheartedly endorse this book and believe it will serve as a catalyst for positive change in our schools. I commend the authors for their dedication to the betterment of our education system.” Tina Certain, Member, Alachua County School Board, District 1

    Frame Shifting for Teachers: Developing a Conscious Approach to Solving Persistent Teaching Dilemmas stands as a transformative tool that propels educators to new heights by emphasizing the fusion of teaching prowess with relationship-building acumen. Authored by Brianna L. Kennedy and Amy S. Murphy, this book inspires a profound shift in pedagogical paradigms. It urges educators to not only refine their teaching skills but also cultivate strong relationships with students.

    "The book underscores the paramount importance of adaptable teaching, focusing on individual students while ensuring the efficacy of classroom-wide instruction remains intact. It serves as a vital resource for educators at all levels, spanning primary to post-secondary education. By advocating for a conscious approach that seamlessly combines teaching finesse with empathetic relationships, educators can better address persistent teaching dilemmas.

    "Frame Shifting for Teachers is a compass guiding educators towards holistic development. It equips them to adapt to the unique needs of individual students while upholding the overall effectiveness of classroom instruction. This book is a clarion call for the cultivation of educators who not only teach but also inspire, mentor, and champion the cause of inclusive education.” Dr. Carlee Simon, School of Education Interim Dean, University of Alaska Southeast

    “In our current educational environment where quick fixes, scripted lessons, and directive coaching tend to prevail, the authors offer a thoughtful and reflective framework for examining (and solving!) problems of practice that places teacher beliefs at its core. The suggested activities and accompanying study guide make it easy for coaches, team leaders, administrators and other leaders to use with teams or individuals while also offering a clear roadmap for PLC groups to evaluate and reflect on their own practice. I found the framework especially useful with early career teachers who often assume their problems of practice are related to management.” Christopher Pendley, Director of Career Development, Clarke County School District, Georgia