Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Learning is not an initiative.

When I talk about student voice, agency, and action I really mean the ability to independently advance your own learning. I use student voice, agency, and action because it gives us a guide on how to help students do just that; advance their own learning. You can't just walk into a classroom and declare.


You will confuse and irritate your students.

But, this student voice thing isn't an initiative either. It isn't Everyday Math or Daily 5 or FOSS. It's not something you lay on top of a curriculum, and expect improvement. It's not just something that you do.  The ability for students to use their voice and for teachers listen is an ideology. It's a process. It's a belief. It requires that teachers believe students can learn motivated only by the possibility of being able to do something they have never done. It requires that a student feels safe enough to try, and the only way they will feel that safety is through the relationship between themselves, their classmates, and their teacher.

So, when I feel discouraged about the amount of factory-style, Carnegie-based, cookie cutter education that is happening across America, when I see attendance at student conferences lower than expected, when I hear my students ask "How much do I have to do?", I have to rely on the truth that learning isn't an initiative. It's a belief.

You thoughts are welcomed and encouraged,

Dane Barner

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