Learners Taking Charge of Their Own Learning

By March 6, 2014Uncategorised
Chris Watkins

Let the beginning and the end of our didactics be: seek and find the methods where the teacher teaches less but those who sit in the desks learn more. Let schools have less rush, less antipathy and less vain effort, but more well-being, convenience and permanent gain.”
               Jan Amos Comenius (1632) The Great Didactic

We talk a lot about the importance of learners owning their own learning and that at its essence this is what Assessment For Learning is all about.  Based on the opening quote from Comenius, apparently making the shift from teacher ownership to learner ownership is somewhat easier said than done!

Chris Watkins from the  Institute of Education at the University of London has provided a very useful short article that uses a driving metaphor “Learners in the driving seat” to describe classroom practices that build greater engagement and motivation. He talks about the current climate in England as one that may be having counter-productive effects in the classroom.  He cites Maryellen Weimer who put it this way:

  • The more structured we make the environment, the more structure students need.
  • The more we decide for students, the more they expect us to decide.
  • The more motivation we provide, the less they find within themselves.
  • The more responsibility for learning we try to assume, the less they accept on their own.
  • The more control we exert, the more restive their response. 
He also makes some very good points about the importance of making very clear the purpose of learning  – and building in more choice.  See what you think.

Despite the challenges of making the shift in ownership,  we are seeing many examples in BC where teachers are finding powerful ways to engage learners and we are looking forward to featuring some of these initiatives at the symposium May 2-3.

Look forward to seeing many of you there!

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