HET – Susan Kovalik

Highly Effective Teaching – HET

“The Highly Effective Teaching model is a brain-compatible model grounded in the biology of learning, effective instructional strategies, and the development of conceptual curriculum. Formerly known as ITI (Integrated Thematic Instruction) and developed thirty years ago, the HET Model has been successfully replicated nationally in educational institutions serving rural, urban, and suburban communities. It includes proven strategies and methods for student learning, teaching and administrative management. Independent research has provided evidence of significant gains in student achievement using the Highly Effective Teaching Model.”


What is HET program do?

  • Creating the conditions for a learning environment before school starts
  • Implementing resources for a bodybrain-compatible environment throughout the year
  • Resources in neuroscience and the Biology of Learning
  • Materials for building community
  • Classroom management through the Lifelong Guidelines and LIFESKILLS
  • Instructional Strategies for engaging students
  • Creating Conceptual Curriculum and integrating subject areas
  • Materials for Administrative support

Five Principles of Learning in the HET Model

  • Intelligence is a Function of Experience
  • Learning is an Inseparable Partnership Between Body and Brain
  • There are Multiple Intelligences to Solve Problems and to Produce Products
  • Learning is a Two-Step Process
  • Personality/Temperament Impacts Learning and Performance

Howard Gardner, Frames of Mind: A Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner, Frames of Mind: A Theory of Multiple Intelligences, has identified at least eight different ways of intelligences for solving problems or producing products. He has established criteria for these eight intelligences including where they are located in the brain. Gardner firmly believes the human brain has all eight, but many are not developed or are underdeveloped due to lack of experiences. His eight intelligences and clues for identifying them include:

Linguistic symbol Linguistic Intelligence – the most observable clue is that people who are highly linguistic have a book with them at all times just in case things get boring. Individuals can be linguistic in four different ways: reading, speaking, listening, and writing. It is possible to have a highly developed linguistic intelligence and not necessarily be good in all four ways.
Logical symbol Logical-Mathematical Intelligence – the most observable clue is that people who are highly logical-mathematical are listers and appreciate things done in a sequential manner. They like order and insist that all drawers and doors be closed, encyclopedias need to be in order and they use post-it notes to tab reading materials.
Logical symbol Spatial Intelligence – the most observable clue for spatial intelligence people is they look up toward the ceiling when asked a question. They are looking for the answer to the question by forming a picture, from their experiences, in the prefrontal lobes of their brain. The most important thing teachers can do is allow “wait time”, time for the answer to form so they can respond.
Logical symbol Musical Intelligence – the musical intelligence person is the “most distracted person in the room.” Their brain is trying to make sense from every sound it hears. The most observable clue is that the person looks toward the source of the sound, a speaker in a classroom, a door opening, or a book dropped on the floor. Any source of sound is a distraction. They can be called the “hummers and drummers” since they often are trying to tap out the rhythm of the voice of the teacher. Stopping the tapping or humming will cut off the input to the brain so alternative ways must be sought as the person needs to feel the rhythm.
Logical symbol Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence – people with this intelligence need to experience input via the long muscles of their arms and legs. They need to have the freedom to move, stand, or walk around. The most observable clue to identify them is the “work dance.” After an assignment is given by a teacher the bodily-kinesthetic individual will get up to sharpen a pencil, go back and sit down, get a book and sit down, get a drink of water and sit down, get another book and sit down. What they are doing is processing the directions to do the assignment or task. These students need to be allowed to stand and work or need to be assigned tasks such as collecting papers and passing out materials.
Logical symbol Naturalist Intelligence – this is the newest of the intelligences identified by Howard Gardner and involves the ability to distinguish, compare, or make sense, of man-made things and things found in nature. The most observable clue is their need to be outside doing “real” things. They gain the most from being there experiences. Naturalists among us include farmers, conservationists and people who know how to navigate “the city” or community in which they live.
Logical symbol Interpersonal Intelligence – people with this intelligence are firm believers in the “power of many.” They believe collaboration is the way to solve problems and produce products. They want and need to be part of a group. The observable clue is often heard in the form of a verbal “Yes!” when told they will be working in groups today.
Logical symbol Intrapersonal Intelligence – people with this intelligence consistently ask, “Can I do this alone?” They firmly believe they can do a job better by themselves. This intelligence is one that will suffer the more classrooms move toward collaboration. Time needs to be set aside for the intrapersonal person. Silent sustained reading and silent sustained writing must be silent to honor this intelligence.

Lifelong Guidelines

TRUSTWORTHINESS – To act in a manner that makes one worthy of trust and confidence

TRUTHFULNESS – To be honest about things and feelings with oneself and others

ACTIVE LISTENING – To listen with the intention of understanding what the speaker intends to communicate
NO PUT-DOWNS – To never use words, actions and/or body language that degrade, humiliate, or dishonor others
PERSONAL BEST – To do one’s best given the circumstances and available resources


  • CARING – To feel and show concern for others
  • COMMON SENSE – To use good judgment
  • COOPERATION – To work together toward a common goal or purpose
  • COURAGE – To act according to one’s beliefs despite fear of adverse consequences
  • CREATIVITY – To generate ideas; To create something original or redesign through imaginative skill
  • CURIOSITY – A desire to investigate and seek understanding of one’s world
  • EFFORT – To do your best
  • FLEXIBILITY – To be willing to alter plans when necessary
  • FRIENDSHIP – To make and keep a friend through mutual trust and caring
  • INITIATIVE – To do something, of one’s own free will, because it needs to be done
  • INTEGRITY – To act according to a sense of what’s right and wrong
  • ORGANIZATION – To plan, arrange, and implement in an orderly way; to keep things orderly and ready to use
  • PATIENCE – To wait calmly for someone or something
  • PERSEVERANCE – To keep at it
  • PRIDE – Satisfaction from doing one’s personal best
  • PROBLEM SOLVING – To create solutions to difficult situations and everyday problems
  • RESOURCEFULNESS – To respond to challenges and opportunities in innovative and creative ways
  • RESPONSIBILITY – To respond when appropriate; to be accountable for one’s actions
  • SENSE OF HUMOR – To laugh and be playful without harming others
The Center For Effective Learning

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