Many know the lyrics to the song made famous by Diana Ross,
‘Do You Know
Where you’re going to?
Do you like the things?
That life is showing you
Where are you going to?
Do you know?’
How do we know how to address the learning needs of the 21st century learner if we don’t take the time to reflect upon what’s working? According to the Students at the Center project, “Student-centered approaches to learning respond to each student’s needs and interests, making use of new tools for doing so.” In reviewing the goals of the Students at the Center project, it is apparent that some reflection has taken place and goals have been set to address the following:
• Mind, Brain, and Education
• Motivation, Engagement, and Student Voice
• Teachers at Work – Six Exemplars of Everyday Practice
• Literacy Practices for African-American Male Adolescents
• Latino/a and Black Students and Mathematics
• Curricular Opportunities in the Digital Age
• Personalization in Schools
• Assessing Learning
• Changing School District Practices
The efforts of this program and so many others like them echo the words penned by Deborah Meier, “There’s a radical – and wonderful – new idea here…that all children could and should be inventors of their own theories, critics of other people’s ideas, analyzers of evidence, and makers of their own personal arks on the world.” Learning attainment based on engagement will mean a shift from teacher-to-student discourse to student-to-student problem solving as facilitated by the teacher.
Education today must revise its effort to reach and teach each student and reunite the craft and joy of teaching with student learning. Are you up for this rewarding challenge?