Nina's Notes

for Effective Teaching and Meaningful Learning

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Mentoring for instructors

Successful instruction is SO much more than just delivering the curriculum or course content. It is common for teachers and faculty to need support in 

  • Dispositions - embedding values, approaches and learning theories into instruction
  • Instructional process - choosing objectives and instructional strategies for best instructional delivery
  • Learning process - fostering and supporting individual learning, easily personalizing students' learning by providing feedback 
  • Assessments - both FOR students' learning and OF students' learning
  • Evaluation - informing stakeholders of learning results

How to improve learning?

It is possible to improve learning and teaching at your school without any expensive equipment or new curricula. Empowered teachers boost the academic performance in the classroom by supporting students' intrinsic motivation to learn.


Improving instructional quality is just the beginning! Helping teachers understand and implement the basic principles of cognitive, constructive and co-operative learning facilitation (the 3C- tools) takes the instructional quality to a whole new level!  


I can also help you by sharing the know-how of the education in Finland.

NCS - Nina C Smith Consulting


Pedagogy matters! To better facilitate the learning of our students we must have a good understanding about how learning actually happens. Supporting learning is easy with good tools.

The knowledge dynamics of teaching profession have already changed when the information era began. While the Content Knowledge is an important part of instruction, the Pedagogical Knowledge is the crucial, overarching competency every 21st Century educator needs.

Educators' learning today must support Deep Learning and focus on:

  • All three areas of pedagogical knowledge:  Instructional process, Learning process, and Assessment
  • Emphasize connecting research to practice, and 
  • Support educators’ ownership of their practice


TPK Sonmark JPG

Deep Learning focuses on understanding connections in the contect, and aims to create permanent knowledge studenture by relating new information with existing one. This is a learning approach that can be fostered among learners of all ages.

I'd be happy to mentor your instructors or teachers to support their students' deep learning. Send me an email to start the discussion!




Learner-centered PD

It is VERY hard to provide learner-centered instruction if you have never experienced it! 

NCS professional development is based on contemporary learning theories and designed to advance K-12 and college students’ learning by helping their teachers and instructors to implement self-regulated and student-centered learning practices to their instruction. Education professionals cannot afford not to update their skills, and the professional development - just like ALL learning - is most effective when it is meaningful and enjoyable, and fosters learner agency (Priestley, Biesta, Robinson, 2014). This is why learner-centerd PD is so important!

The contemporary model of leading adult learning combines: 

  • training 
  • self-directed learning and 
  • mentoring 

Many currently used professional development models are characterized with outdated learning theories and approaches. Learning-oriented leadership is needed to make a difference, and one part of this is engaging faculty in meaningful professional development (Drago-Severson, 2009).  The goal is to engage teachers and instructors in learner-centered professional development.  In order to improve the educational outcomes instructors and teachers must be provided with meaningful learning opportunities! "In a world where old norms have frayed and expectations changed, it has become increasingly difficult to justify the industrial-era organization of schooling" (Hess, 2006, p.7).  

So, let's change the professional development! Let me know what your isntructors need!


Drago-Severson, E. (2009). Leading adult learning: Supporting adult development in our schools. Corwin Press.
Hess, F. M. (Ed.). (2006). Educational entrepreneurship: Realities, challenges, possibilities. Harvard Education Press.

Priestley, M., Biesta,G., & Robinson, S. (2014). Teacher agency: what is it and why does it matter?

Critical Effects :



Promote collaborative/ co-operational learning - Make learning meaningful. Co-operational learning is one of the great strengths in Finnish education. Check my notes about Cooperative Tools!


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Remove barriers to success - Improve students well-being at school. Provide your students with Constructive Tools!


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Foster 21st century learning - Teach about the Cognitive Tools to make a difference and empower your students to learn independently!





Nina's book:

Also available as Kindle!  
Find it at Powells , or take a look on  Barnes and Noble. 


If you reside in the Europe, then Waterstones or AmazonUK  might be a better choice.  Suomessa ja muissa Pohjoismaissa myos  Adlibris on vaihtoehto.