Why do we have so many students who are frustrated and bored, just waiting to be challenged? We’ve made education about manipulation and hoops instead of inspiring our students to pursue learning that matters to them — learning that can help them make a difference in our communities and the world. By beginning with the Why questions, says teacher Shelley Wright, we can create powerful student-driven learning environments.
Blending STEM with “connected classroom” strategies is a powerful learning model, says STEM teaching coach Brian Crosby â€“ provided innovative thinking, teacher autonomy and flexible scheduling are present. These essential components of “going deep” with teaching and learning have been eroded away in the last decade, he says, and will have to be revived.
Our arts education teachers quietly go about their work, often marginalized to the ‘extras’ or the ‘fluff’ of the school program, writes Canadian teacher educator Brenda Sherry. “And yet, I would argue that they are the PBL experts that we seek!” Sherry describes several attributes of student-centered pedagogy that are common among teachers of drama, music, painting, dance and artistic crafts.
Physics teacher Dolores Gende is shifting her teaching to a student-driven learning model by selecting some areas of focus each year. This year it’s assessment. “I see assessment as an ongoing process that informs me and my students and gauges the progression of learning. I partner with my students, and they appreciate not being constrained by fixed deadlines and dead-end quiz scores. They prefer the ample opportunities we create to demonstrate they can accomplish all of our Learning Objectives.”