As a shopper, don’t you love choices! I have a friend that sometimes, okay all of the time, has a hard time making a decision when shopping. I go in, look at the choices and buy. I do love clearance stuff! Remember from my previous posts; I make a big deal about Christmas, so I shop year-round.
So when looking at teaching and learning, choice makes sense to me. Teachers’ autonomy is essential in creating teaching and learning environments where joy is found. Teachers make choices in how they approach the content and skills students need to master. They are not straying away from the units, content and skills but the approach.
Teachers, given the opportunity, would prefer to develop expertise in a variety of ways to teach reading, depending on the learners’ needs, rather than teaching every student according to one mandated approach. Teachers, in a culture of autonomy, would invest, study, learn and explore more than they do currently. Most of our systems require all teachers to attend the same “professional development” regardless of what stage they are in. Teachers want the responsibility of their classroom. One glove does not fit all and we know this so why do we continue to try these things?
Learners’ autonomy is critical as well. One of the goals we should have is to guide our students forward in building leadership skills. Taking charge and making choices of their learning promotes engagement, ownership, retention, motivation and establishes a foundation for growth.
I have stated my support for student lead conferencing previously. Providing opportunities for students always to have a voice, choice and ability to gain skills to build a strong foundation for their future is always a priority for our future leaders. Accountability for learning does not rest on the shoulders of one, but many. My statement needs repeating, “Education is something we do with children not to them.” Learning is joyful not painful. We want lifelong learners, eager to explore, take risks, innovate and create.
Choice is essential to all of us. We make choices each day in many ways. I hope we can continue to explore ways to support teachers and learners with choice. I have included a link to Dr. Catlin Tucker’s blog which provides additional information. Dr. Tucker is an author to several books about blended learning. Please visit her website, follow her on Twitter @Catlin_Tucker
Thank you for being part of the solution daily for all of those in need. If not you, then who? Today you make a difference.