Sunday, August 23, 2009

Learning - Who's in Charge?

Have enjoyed listening to the responses to the question 'Who's in charge of your learning?' Several years ago the response was very much the teacher, the teacher decides what we learn. In the last few years I have observed a big shift away from the locus of control predominantly being with the teacher and moving more towards the students. Responses now indicate the ownership is shared. As teachers have experimented with handing over more of the ownership to the students, incredible motivation and empowerment has been observed. An important part of the ownership being handed over is building clarity around learning progressions where students can progress and self motivate at a self regulated pace. It is exciting to talk to learners about what they are learning?, how they are going in their learning and what they believe their next learning steps are? 9 times out of 10 they hit the appropriate stretch and challenge in their learning about right.
This seemingly plays down the important role of the teacher. The teacher needs to continue to be the activator of learning. A key role to tailor the learning to hit the sweet spot. Push into that ZPD Vygotsky talks about. I am coming to to the realisation that the teachers role continues to be a fundamental one in that they need to design the learning to develop thinking that goes beyond consolidation and practice tasks. My latest question is how to you get the balance just right when students are learning independent of the teacher. How do you design learning to get that balance between practice and new learning/thinking?

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