For years I have been working at trying to develop a student-centered classroom. The problem I have realized is that in the end, the picture I had in my mind never quite ended up what was happening in front of me with my students. I decided that I wanted to look for strategies that would help me help my students take ownership of their learning.
I truly believe that students can learn even a subject that might seem less than interesting to them. I also want to believe that students need to learn some things simply to be a global citizen in this world. For this reason, I have always tried to help my students learn more deeply then memorizing for the test.
The book Developing Student Ownership: Supporting Students to Own Their Learning through the Use of Strategic Learning Practices by Robert Crowe and Jane Kennedy was the next step in my growth process.
The book itself is divided into four factors of learning: curriculum, instruction, assessment, and climate. Within each of these domains, the authors have developed 3 criteria that focus on student ownership.
The repetitive structure of the reading from highest level responses, to teacher planning, to student outcomes, helps to present the ideas to move any class at any level toward student ownership.
I would say I was learning strategies without realizing it. I have certainly underlined a number of ideas to add to my toolkit of classroom experience. I have already begun to develop new ways to help my students fully understand what they are learning, how they will learn it, how they will know they have learned it, and how they will support all learners in the classroom. Best of all, I did that without the fully structured development of a list.
At first, I think I was looking for a straight-forward – here are the strategies now use them kind of resource. But in hindsight, the way this text presents the strategies makes the implementation feel both manageable and realistic.
I’m excited to try to develop ownership, collaboration, and deeper learning for all the students in my classroom. The new school year often brings with it a degree of anticipation and excitement – this year I have a newly developed sense of purpose that I hope will lead to students outcomes that are more than simple scores on an exam.