8-things-look-student-centered-learning-environment – Getting Smart

This article is copied from the web page Getting Smart, written by Emily Liebtag. Full article here.

These are 8 good points to consider when you plan for the next schoolyear. Next week the teachers will be working on year-plans, term plans, and possibly every teaching unit for this semster. I know many of the teachers in my school will also be planning the days for assessment. Perhaps a glance down at bullet 7 could be a starting point If you are a teacher starting work next week I would like to ask the queston: How many of these 8 points will you be able to check out?

When you walk into a school, what do you look for? When envisioning what type of learning environment is ideal for your child or the students you work with, what are the most important characteristics? What are the most positive, memorable experiences from your own schooling?

I value many different learning models and environments and honestly do not feel it is my role to judge or evaluate what is “good.” That said, from years of teaching in the classroom and countless visits and interactions with excellent educators worldwide, I’ve created a list of things I commonly observe in great student-centered learning environments. As the Nellie Mae Education Foundation describes, student-centered learning “engages students in their own success—and incorporates their interests and skills into the learning process.” Student learning is personalized, competency-based, happens anytime and/or anywhere, and students have ownership in their learning.

I paired my personal list with thoughts from my teammates at Getting Smart to create a collection of “School Look Fors” based on our discussions and experiences in schools across the country and world.

1) High degree of student engagement; challenge, enthusiasm, joy.
2) Students know what they are learning and why.
3) Blend of individual, collaborative team, and large group work
4) Students use personalized technology to produce as well as consume.
5) Students have some opportunity to work at their own pace and explore their own interests.
6) Students are doing the bulk of the work and the talking
7) There are multiple forms of assessment, feedback, and demonstrations of learning. 
8) Instruction, culture, and environment reflect and include student and staff diversity. 

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