The Spectrum is not limited to 11 landmark styles. Between styles exist a vast array of supporting pedagogical variations called Canopies.

An Introduction to the Concept of Canopies

The Spectrum’s decision-making continuum identifies 11 teaching styles. Each of the style’s decision patterns establish a significantly different developmental opportunity in subject matter and behavior; therefore, the Spectrum styles are referred to as landmark teaching styles.

Although there are eleven distinct landmark styles, there exists a vast, if not infinite, array of pedagogical variations between styles, called Canopies.  Both landmark and canopy styles are comprised of specific sets of decisions that recruit human attributes (characteristics) on different Developmental Channels allowing the objectives of each style or canopy the possibility of achievement. The difference between the two is that canopy decisions and objectives are more alike landmark styles than different. Canopy designs do not indicate significantly different developmental opportunities, because they do not have a unique decision configuration. They are close copies of and similar variations of the landmark style; not uniquely different. Canopies support and reinforce existing landmark decision patterns and objectives.  Therefore, canopies are located between the two landmark styles that share their similar decision configuration. 

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Canopy Designation

Canopy designs need a distinct designation. They should not be referred to as a landmark style nor should they be labeled with only a name or a letter as we do for the landmark episodes.  Canopy designs do not have the same O-T-L-O (decision pattern) as the landmark styles. Therefore, a distinct designation is needed.  Canopy designs or variations represent two approaches.  

           1.     A canopy episode can indicate that some of the landmark decisions have been added, deleted or adjusted.  The distinct representation for such a canopy is to indicate a carrot symbol ‘^’ above the style name or letter and to indicate the decision change.  This carrot symbol distinguishes the canopy teaching episode from a landmark episode and it indicates the styles the canopy is between.  This canopy design focuses on changes within the landmark decisions.  

           2.     A canopy episode can indicate a merging of two distinct styles. The distinct representation for such a canopy is to indicate a slash ‘/’ between two style names. This symbol indicates that the essence of two styles are merged in one episode. The first style letter represents the primary objective of the episode and the second style indicates additional parameters on the episode.  For example, Canopy H/E ; the primary objective is the discovery of multiple responses to a task and this specific canopy is designed with multiple levels of difficulty. 

Both canopy teaching options indicates that a modification has been made to the decision structure of the indicated style(s) influencing the set of corresponding objectives to be highlighted. Canopy designations are critical when researching classroom teaching and learning because landmark and canopy teaching do not have the identical decision expectations and objectives.  Assumptions about a landmark style can not be made when teaching with canopies.

Labeling and Reading Canopy Designations

Canopy designations indicate:  the teaching style and the specific landmark decision(s) that are modified The following examples provide the canopy designation and the verbal behavior for reading the designation.    

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Â+ socialization

Read as: Canopy of Style A plus socialization
Meaning: This teaching experience adheres to the landmark decision structure of the Command Style. In addition, the task incorporates socialization decisions.

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Read as: Canopy of Convergent Discovery Style and Guided Discovery Style
Meaning: Both Convergent Discovery and Guided Discovery lead the learner to the discovery of an anticipated targeted response. However, these styles are very different in their structure. Guided Discovery is a series of question while Convergent Discovery provides one question and each learner is challenged to design the series of questions that lead to the anticipated response. A canopy G/F is designed to help those learners who get stuck along the way by providing occasional clue questions to clarify the thinking direction.

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Read as: canopy of Divergent Discovery Style and Command Style.
Meaning: the intent of this canopy episode is to produce discovered divergent responses in a short period of time. For example: improvisation skits, science robot design competitions, cooking challenges, etc.

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E/Any Style

The concept underlying the Inclusion Style—the slanted rope concept—can be applied to the content in all teaching styles and canopies. It is possible to design tasks with multiple levels of difficulty in all styles. Implementing canopies with the added concept of inclusion requires clarity of the decisions that will remain or change in the canopy design.

The canopy design variations are infinite. They satisfy a need in learner’s development.  The more teachers can diagnose the learning difficulty, the easier it is to design canopy lessons that will help reduce the learners’ content gaps.  


The Spectrum is limited to just eleven styles.
Since there are just eleven teaching styles in the Spectrum, there must be times when we are not using Spectrum and using other teaching methods. This misconception leads teachers to say: “I’m not doing Spectrum today rather I’m doing… Cooperative Learning, Sports Education, TGFU, Constructionist activities, fun activities, social responsibility activities, or Character Education, etc.”.

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This thinking is inconsistent with the very philosophical foundation of the Spectrum, which is: teaching is a chain of decision making and a NON-VERSUS framework. The Spectrum is a universal framework that underlies all teaching methods and approaches. Each of these approaches support a decision configuration for the teacher and the learner; therefore, each have a pedagogical association that is closer to one style than another.


The Spectrum is something we do naturally.
If all teaching methods are comprised of decisions and objectives, then I’m already doing the Spectrum and don’t need to learn it.

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This thinking suggests that anything a teacher does is considered quality teaching or Spectrum teaching. There are few professions where its members are “naturally” trained. Spectrum teaching is deliberate teaching. Knowing the learning intent, selecting the corresponding decisions, developing multiple cognitive operations, acknowledging the importance of attributes, and developing a repertoire of alternative teaching approaches is required of all teaching. The Spectrum offers foundational knowledge for all teaching methods. It is a deliberate, non-versus approach to teaching and learning.

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