September 11, 2014, Lab Middle School for Collaborative Studies
Every month, Digital Ready’s Teaching Community of Practice (TCOP) meets outside of school hours to network, collaborate, and sharepromising practices in the world of student-centered teaching. We spent time at our first meeting this year talking about WHAT student-centered learning is, its implications in our work, potential roadblocks we may come across and our goals for the year. All of the resources from our meeting are here– a shared resource for turnkeying our practices.
Some phrases really hit home from Mark Barnes’ article “Five Steps to Create a Progressive, Student-Centered Classroom”:
- Many objectives or standards can be met in one well-crafted project that allows students to decide what the final project looks like.
- In today’s digital world, it doesn’t matter if your classroom is filled with computers; students have them in the palms of their hands.
- Mobile learning is no longer the wave of the future; it’s the present.
- Learners will be more engaged if they can choose the technology to use [sic].
- Measuring achievement with grades and test scores is a false barometer of learning because all the control is in the hands of the teacher.
- With engaging, ongoing projects that are driven by interactive web tools, students produce more in class, making homework obsolete.
- Set the tone from the first day of the school year by eliminating all discussion of rules and consequences.
- Numbers, percentages, and letters on activities, projects, and report cards say little about learning.
- A student-centered environment thrives through the use of narrative feedback that follows a specific formula and encourages students to resubmit assignments that do not demonstrate mastery.
- Involving students in conversations about their learning not only builds trust, but also helps them become critics of their own work, which is a remarkable part of the amazing student-centered classroom.
Though we recognize some roadblocks to implementation:
- Sharing buildings and classrooms
- Organizing physical space and time
- Scheduling the day and class period
- Tension between project-based learning a
nd Regents testing
We organized our most essential and least essential TEACHING outcomes for a student-centered classroom, and went to bat for our choices when we didn’t agree.
My takeaway from this conversation was that student-centered teaching is JUST GOOD TEACHING!