Dec 7, 2012

ABLE Guide: Roles

This is a work in progress as I develop the The Self-Organizing Classroom - A Quickstart Guide to Agile Based Learning Environments

Please email or comment your feedback so I can make this as educator-friendly as possible. 


ABLE provides 3 roles in the classroom; (1) the ABLE Teacher, (2) the ABLE Facilitator, and (3) the Learning Team. Each has distinct responsibilities that interlock and balance one another to enable self-organization. It is important to not only understand the roles and responsibility, but, most importantly the classroom's journey in actualizing the roles.When the roles are fully actualized, a self-organzing classroom emerges, full of engagement, collaboration, creativity, and focus.

ABLE Teacher
  • Responsibilities:
    • orders and adapts the classroom  backlog based on the current realities of the classroom
    • develops and communicates clear learning outcomes and assessment criteria
    • ensues the learning backlog is highly visible to the classroom and other classroom community members at all times.
    • owns the "Empowerment Dial" and the "Empowerment Board"
    • assesses the learning outcomes
    • creates a learning environment that fosters creativity, empowerment, collaboration, and engagement
    • establishes learning teams that leverages diversity of strengths and perspectives
  • Characteristics:
    • finds joy in being surprised of emergent and novel approaches when empowering students to develop their own way to achieving a learning outcome
    • embraces a "growth mindset" for the classroom, each students, and herself
    • belief that students will be responsible, if given opportunities to make their own decisions
    • ability to articulate learning goals clearly
    • ability to fast forward attitude
    • situational leadership style
  • The ABLE Teacher's Journey is from teacher to coach. From the "sage on the stage" to the trusting and empowering "guide on the side"

ABLE Facilitator
  • Responsibilities:
    • facilitates the ABLE Events, for her team or on a rotation for whole classroom learning
    • helps the team stay focused, positive, and productive
    • reinforces and reminds the team meet their ABLE Agreements
    • encourages the team to utilize each member's strengths
    • helps the team follow the ABLE framework.
    • encourages the Learning Team to stretch reach their next Empowerment Level
    • removes roadblocks from the team and escalates issues that can not be resolved by the Learning Team to the Teacher
    • facilitates in team member mediation when needed
    • helps the team identify and obtain resources to meet their goals
    • does not have to be a dedicated assignment, it may be rotated to a different students per Sprint
    • does not have any authority over the team
  • The ABLE Facilitator may be the teacher in certain situations, such as:
    • intervention situations
    • early stages of ABLE to model the ABLE Facilitator role
  • The ABLE Master's Journey is from "just reciting the ABLE Process" to a "Team Coach and Facilitator", that can ask powerful questions of the team to help move them to their highest potential

ABLE Team Member
  • Responsibilities:
    • the "how of the work"
    • develops their own learning and project tasks
    • "pulls" their own learning tasks
    • collective ownership of the tasks as a team
    • commit to doing their best to achieve the learning outcomes be the end of a Sprint
  • Characteristics:
    • self-organzing is the fundamental characteristic and ultimate goal of an ABLE team
    • extremely collaborative
    • shared ownership of goals
    • self-mediating
    • team has diverse strengths, aptitudes,styles and passions that complement each other.
    • no prescribed roles exist or are assigned, except for the ABLE Master. Each team member contributes their own unique strengths and talents to accomplishing their shared goals.
    • suggested group size is 3-5 students. Too large of a team makes self-organization difficult; too small of a team does not provide the diversity required to leverage one another's strengths.
    • Self-organization means that the team is not told "how" to do their work and there is no central authority directing individual assignment to a team member. Students develop and self-select their own tasks to satisfy the learning or project outcomes in a self-organzing team.
  • An ABLE Team Member's Journey is from an individual learner, dependent on the teacher to be told the what, when, and how, to a learner as a member of a collaborative self-directed team, in other words, a "self-organized team".
What feedback do you have? How would you describe the roles and responsibilities of an ABLE Team? 

Thank You,
John Miller

12/9/12 Changed ABLE Master to ABLE Facilitator.

Based on the Scrum Framework