Typhani Harris | October 2016

ARTISTIC Critique of Learning to Choose, Choosing to Learn

Student choice is the most important attribute in getting students to own their learning.  Artistic Critique, Mike Anderson’s Learning to Choose, Choosing to Learn: The Key to Student Motivation & Achievement takes the philosophies of Dr. Emdin and Monique Morris and shows teachers how to help develop student choice as a means to educating all youth.

Learning To Choose, Choosing To Learn, Artistic Critique, Education Closet

In 2013 I introduced the ARTISTIC critique, a way to critique art that spirals through the levels of Bloom’s.  For the last couple of weeks, I have been using the ARTISTIC critique to analyze a few texts that shed light on social justice in education.  Check out the original ARTISTIC critique article.

AFFIRMATION: Positive assertions

Mike Anderson has outlined key strategies to unlocking student motivation by providing choice within the classroom.  The text is an easy read with tangible and concrete examples of how to bring the strategies into any classroom.  Unlike many texts which focuses on a specific span of grade levels, Mr. Anderson takes the time to look at elementary, middle, and high school levels so all educators will find useful information.

REFLECTION: Opinion based observations

I felt this was a great follow up after learning about Dr. Emdin and Ms. Morris’ philosophies.  Where Dr. Emdin and Ms. Morris outline philosophies with working with some of our students thus providing the “why,” Mr. Anderson provides the map or the “how.”

TECHNIQUE: foundational elements

The technical elements of the text provide a few references but primarily focus on how to actually turn ideas into practice.  He organized the book into 3 main sections: The Purpose and Power of Choice, Strategies that Boost the Effectiveness of Choice, and The Nuts and Bolts of Choice.  It is easy to follow as he moves through the understanding and purpose of giving students choice, to how to actually manufacture those situations within the classroom, and ultimately how to facilitate choice when in practice.

INQUIRY: Questions for the author

My main question for the author revolves around the structure.  I feel there is a catch 22 with student choice.  If a teacher struggles with classroom management, student choice will help students to become more invested and therefore less of a challenge, but it is very difficult to offer student choice when there is no structure to classroom management.  So, how do we help teachers invest in the purpose and principles of student choice when they don’t have a firm grasp on how to manage their classrooms?

SUGGESTION: recommendations for the author

My suggestion would be to develop and include strategies for mentors, coaches, and administrators to help teachers to embrace student choice opportunities while still helping them to fine-tune their classroom management strategies.

TRANSLATION: Interpret the author’s intent

I believe Mr. Anderson’s intent was to give teachers concrete ways to help students own their learning by choosing their learning.  This is not a new idea, but the clarity of his work allows teachers to actually employ the idea in the classroom.  We are often given ideas, philosophies, and theories, but Mr. Anderson really gives educators a step-by-step way to approach student ownership.

ILLATION: Overall evaluation

Overall, the text is a valuable resource.  Not only is it effective in all courses, but specifically for STEAM designed lessons.  An underlying expectation of STEAM is that we allow students to use their interests as access points for knowledge, and student choice is the foundation.

CREATION: Recreate the work

I leave you with Mr. Mike Anderson’s website

Over the past few weeks, we took a look at philosophies from Dr. Chris Emdin, Ms. Monique Morris, and strategies from Mr. Mike Anderson.  If you are looking for some more ways to really encourage student ownership within the classroom, by combining all of these great resources, check out my 5 Ways to Stop Teaching guide, free!

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 Chief Academics Officer, Dr. Harris maintains courses, conferences, and the accredited certification program at The Institute.