📑 What Can Students Do?

Bookmarked What Can Students Do? by Cameron PatersonCameron Paterson (learningshore.edublogs.org)

Teachers do too much of the learning and thinking for students. It does not have to be this way. When teachers work harder than students, young people become inculcated into coming to school to watch the adults work. If we want them to learn; if we want them to think, this is not something that can be outsourced. And if we want them to take responsibility for the culture and feel of the classroom and school, we need to invite them into the conversation, and even step away and let them take the lead. What do you complain about having to do that your students could do tomorrow?

Cameron Paterson reflects upon the question of what can students do in the classroom? He shares examples of where his students have co-constructed assessment criteria, self-assessed their work, written their own report comments and taught their own lessons. This reminds me of Bianca Hewes’ work with ‘meddles and missions’.

Personally, I have tried a few of these things when I was in the classroom, making the curriculum explicit and getting the students to work with me to design assessments. I even got my Year 8 Media Studies class to design their own excursion, including making inquiries with various places in preparation. In these situations I guess the focus of the teaching were the skills associated with how to learn.

The issue that I had was that I was only one part of the week for these students and that this was all vastly different to how other teachers and classes were operating. I guess the point then is how much can students do when we let them?

It is interesting thinking about all this outside of the classroom. In my role working with teachers and administration on some of the day-to-day technical trivialities, such as academic reporting and attendance. It is always so easy to just fix problems as they arise. However, I always endeavour to meet half-way, whether it be to provide a short summary or to actually walk through a problem. The challenges in these situations is the limits of time, I wonder if that too is sometimes the challenge in the classroom too.

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