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Student-Centered Learning

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How People Learn: An Evidence-Based Approach. Proposals to "professionalize teaching" are popular today, but agreement about what this should entail is elusive. At Deans for Impact, an organization composed of leaders of programs that prepare new teachers, we believe that part of what distinguishes members of a profession is general agreement on a body of domain-specific knowledge that is relevant to practice.

We recently released "The Science of Learning," a report that summarizes the cognitive science related to how students learn. The principles in this post are drawn from that report. Teachers will always need to use their knowledge of students and content to make professional judgments about classroom practice. 6 Scientific Principles Every Teacher Should Know Unfortunately, our education system is rife with misconceptions and confusion about learning. 1. This means that teachers should make sure that students have -- or should provide students with -- the background knowledge needed for understanding new content. 2. 3. 4. 5.

What Does a School Need to Enable Learning Based on Student Competency? | MindShift | KQED News. Many teachers have long been frustrated with static, canned curriculum that doesn’t seem connected to kids’ lives, and testing requirements that drive the learning experience. So they, often in partnership with daring leaders, are pushing back, trying to find ways to meet the long-held goal of educators: Meeting each student’s needs and helping all to be successful.

Three main ways schools are attempting this work are through technology use, an emphasis on personalizing learning and moving toward a mastery-based or competency-based evaluation system. While not all the same, these approaches share some commonalities and require significant structural changes to the education system if they are to be implemented well. A CompetencyWorks report, “Maximizing Competency Education and Blended Learning: Insights from Experts,” looks at ways that the movement for personalization dovetails with blended learning and competency-based learning to achieve a more student-centered approach to school. Going Gradeless: Student Self-Assessment in PBL. I like reading professional material. I would posit that most teachers do. Professional reading (OK, all reading, really) allows our thoughts to constantly shift, transform, and travel to currently uncharted mental territory.

If we are lucky, we encounter a watershed idea or concept that shatters our thoughts and understanding to such an extent that it requires a complete rebuilding of our philosophy. I was provided such a moment when I read Mark Barnes’ Role Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in a Student-Centered Classroom in the spring of 2015. My Goal It was my intention to simultaneously promote mastery learning as well as increase students' ability to metacognitively assess their work against a given set of standards. Remove grades from the daily equation. My Plan I knew that I needed to maintain accountability to various stakeholders in this process -- the students, their families, and the administration. The Results. What Teachers Can Gain When Students Design the Lessons. Excerpted from For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education by Christopher Emdin (Beacon Press, 2016).

Reprinted with permission from Beacon Press. In this section of the book Emdin reframes the practice of “coteaching” as a partnership between the teacher and one or two students. Emdin argues for what he calls “reality pedagogy” in which students are valued experts on their own lives and contexts, and consequently know best how they should be taught. While the teacher is the content expert, he can learn from his students about how to best reach them. Emdin also uses the term “neoindigenous” when talking about urban youth of color, referring to the complicated relationship between a school system that holds white-middle class culture as the norm and youth whose lived experiences are seen as deficits to learning.

By Christopher Emdin. Period 6: Ensuring Enrichment and Intervention. Our period six class schedule has evolved over the past 15 years. Originally, our philosophy of period six was based upon teacher interest. I inherited a schedule that gave all teachers a class period (not during their prep time) to teach their passion. This empowered teachers, and they communicated their passion to the kids. It emphasized innovation and place-based education. Classes like mountain biking, windsurfing, rock climbing, and oceanography took advantage of our physical location. Our period six philosophy had significant value, but also some limitations. 1. The Hood River Middle School (HRMS) Site Council -- a local decision-making body consisting of parents, teachers, classified staff, and administration -- came together in the 2010-11 school year to look at state assessment, classroom performance, and concerns from some students who viewed period six as fluff classes.

Connect enrichment classes to subject area curriculum. 2. Teachers submit a new course proposal form. U.S. Brain Labs: A Place to Enliven Learning. Although emotion and cognition originate in different parts of the brain, they interact and play a powerful role in learning and memory. According to neuroscientists like Eric Jensen, priming the brain for particular states of engagement -- such as curiosity, intrigue, surprise, suspense, a bit of confusion, skepticism, and the feeling of safety -- prepares the mind to learn. Furthermore, incorporating emotion into our instruction and content supports long-term memory. This might not be news to teachers, but not enough students know how to optimize their brain for learning.

That's why every child should have the opportunity to explore neuroscience in a brain lab. What Is a Brain Lab? What Is Its Purpose? Every school or classroom should have a student- and teacher-created brain lab with these goals: Students could be assigned personal folders with choices of lab activities. Using Pop Culture to Study the Brain Social and Emotional Components of the Brain Lab Resources for the Brain Lab. A Student's Perspective on Place-Based Learning. When I first arrived at Hood River Middle School (HRMS), I was a wide-eyed, unsure 11-year-old who had spent the last six years of my life in the security of my elementary school. Not surprisingly, the transition to middle school was abrupt. A whole new level of hands-on, interactive classes became available to me, and I barely knew where to start. I found myself wondering if I should take green building design, introduction to string instruments, or rock climbing. The school felt like a miniature world with a variety of people to meet and classes to experience.

The Local Connection When I look back on my days at HRMS, my most vivid memories were from the time spent outside of the classroom. Building Up, Taking Care Through the Food and Conservation Science (FACS) Program, my peers and I had the chance to collaborate on different outdoor projects. Getting a Job? No, I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life in middle school, and I certainly don't have it figured out now.