Jaime Patterson | November 2015

Creating Student Ownership

The other day I walked past this poster, and as I was reading it I was thinking…Yes… Yes… Yes… WAIT…WHAT???? NO!!!

Creating Student Ownership?

I couldn’t help but cringe when I read “This is not a democracy, this is MY classroom.”  If we begin with this rule, how can we ever expect students to take full student ownership of their learning.  We want students to be engaged, motivated, determined but how could we possibly do that if we don’t bring them into the decision making.  The truth is, the more they Do, the more they Learn; the more they Learn, the more they’re Motivated; and the more they’re Motivated, the mCreating Student Ownership, Education Closetore they own their Education.  It is important to guide students down this path so they may take student ownership of their learning and responsibility for their education.

In order to get students to stop passively approaching their learning we have to turn education over to them.  If you think about the way education has historically been delivered, we corral students into a room, sit them down in rows facing one direction, spout knowledge from the front, and give them an assignment or test to make them prove that they heard everything we said.  How is this a true education?  Where is the curiosity, the inquiry, the want and need to know more?  Three ways to put education in to the hands of those being educated is through Student Leadership, Student Generated Projects and Student Character Reflection.  These are by far not the only ways, but these are three things we can do now to start the process!

Student Leadership

Building leadership in the classroom is an amazing way to place responsibility, student ownership, and accountability into the hands of the students. A mentor once told me “don’t do for the students, that which they can do for themselves,” and if we keep that in mind, we can begin creating leadership within the classroom.  If we do it right, the hardest part of our job should be the planning because the classroom should run itself.  Read full article here.

Student Generated Projects

There was a way to infuse project based learning (PBL) into traditional education.  At the heart of PBL is real-world problems that attract student interest.  Driven by a problem or essential question, students go beyond understanding content to a place where they can demonstrate the application of content.  Including students into the process of generating projects that demonstrate mastery is another way we can help students to take stduent ownership of their education.  Read full article here.

Student Character Reflection

Character building is one of the many responsibilities of education.  The arts are a great place to house these valuable skills, because we innately build character through arts presentation.  Whether stepping on stage for a dance performance, a one-act play, or a music concert, student artists are building their character traits on a daily basis.  Highlighting these traits through reflection will help students to make connections between the dedication and determination they put into the arts with the commitment and perseverance they can put into their academics.  Read full article here.

I read a post by Angela Watson that stated whoever is doing the most talking is doing the most learning.
By offering opportunities for students to lead, create projects, and reflect on their personal growth we are placing the reposnibility of education into their hands.

The same day that I saw the above poster, the following picture appeared on my Facebook feed:

Creating Student Ownership, Education Closet
When placed side-by-side, public education looks a lot like prison.  Now is the time to start making a change.  Let’s put education in the hands of students and redesign public education.  Let’s make learning enjoyable and full of curiosity and not locked down in the past.

Piquès & Pirouettès

Next Week: ARTISTIC Critique of See Me After Class (Book Review)

About the Author

Dr. Typhani Harris, author of Putting the Performance in Performance Task and Stop Teaching, brings over 2 decades of educational experience to The Institute. Originally a high school English Language Arts teacher, Dr. Harris transitioned into a dance educator who cultivated an award-winning collegiate style dance education program at a public school in California. Prior to joining the Institute, she was an educational leader and instructional coach specializing in preparing new teachers in secondary urban schools.  As the Executive Director of Academic Affairs, Dr. Harris maintains courses, conferences, and the accredited certification program at The Institute.