Sunday, April 21, 2013

Are You a Disseminator or Facilitator?

At IRA 2013, I am doing my session "Can We Skip Lunch and Keep Writing?" Collaborating in Class and Online (yes, that also happens to be the title of my book ).  Each time I do this presentation, I have attendees who come because they are looking for strategies to teach writing. I also have people who attend looking for technology tools and applications. Do they get those? Absolutely, but I think they leave with much more. They leave with an understanding of what it means to create a classroom or school environment that is driven by student's choice.

The title of my book was chosen because as I was writing the first draft of a chapter, I shared a story about how my students wanted to write so badly, they were searching for any additional time within our very structured schedule. One student's solution was asking me, "Can we skip lunch and keep writing?" What can we as educators do to keep our students excited about learning?

The answer is simple, we must give them the power to make choices about what they will learn, how they will learn, and how they will be assessed on their learning. If you have no idea where to begin, the first place that I always turn is to my students. Ask them. Let them give you feedback. When you combine their feedback with your expertise as an educator, you've got a winning combination.

Although we are the content specialists and strategists, our role is no longer the sole disseminator of information. They have that in the palm of their hand, 24/7; they don't need us for that anymore. We must be the facilitator who guides them through all of the information and provides them with the individual support and opportunities they need to become the most successful student possible.

Those of you who read this blog know that I am very passionate about student-directed learning. Here are a few of the posts that I have written that give you a peek into my classroom to see what this really looks like when implemented:

I hope this gives you some inspiration or causes you to take some time to reflect on your teaching practice. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask them. Our classroom is an open book.

1 comment:

  1. I so agree with your statement "we need to give kids choices". I have been out of the classroom for about 12 years. I am an administrator, but as I see the power of technology in the hands of students, I am ready to go back to the classroom. What an exciting time to be a teacher.