• Posted 21/03/2018 11:29pm

Student Voice Matters

Learning never exhausts the mind

The demands on teachers to make learning meaningful and exciting is a very real challenge for most teachers.  I have been thinking a lot about this and wonder if there is a better way to support our teachers and students to experience learning as motivating, empowering and meaningful without the ridiculous workload?  I believe there is an answer in student-led learning.

Research is overwhelmingly pointing us in the direction of student-led learning as a way of supporting our students to become empowered and motivated learners. It is not an easy task but worth our attention.  Student-led learning exists in many schools throughout New Zealand because we experience first-hand the benefits of students’ engagement and overall improved learning outcomes. However, implementing this into everyday school life can be extremely challenging and can also place more pressure on our teachers as they manage all the planning, marking and reporting.

So, what is student-led learning?

Student-led learning is not something that we subscribe to our students at certain times of the week, it should be inseparable to all learning.

Student-led learning means having the ability to face individual challenges, it demands integrity, strength, determination and the faith in one’s ability to draw on the wisdom of others to build knowledge and find answers to the challenges being faced. Students with student-led learning will know who they are, grow to understand their capabilities, and will teach them to lean on their intuition to build a purposeful life.

Student-led learning also demands authenticity. Authenticity is at the helm of excellence. Authenticity is alive with curiosity, creativity, challenge, hope, drive, and enables our students to overcome difficulties in learning. It is through authenticity that the voice of our children will be heard.  Freire (1972) explains student-led learning this way, “…learning based on student-led learning emerges from a curiosity inherent within each student. … learning with Student-led learning is an entirely different cognitive and physical activity leading to powerful learners who choose to take on challenges with their whole being,”.

So how is this achieved? 

I believe it is built on curiosity, I love the quote from Leonardo da Vinci  “Learning never exhausts the mind” and also, "Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in”.  I have witnessed the power of 'self-lead' curiosity and its ability to build determination, resilience, and a sense of self.  I want this for all our students.   I believe it is possible.

Student-led learning has the ingredients to change the world and equip our future generations with extraordinary skills we have never seen. It will create highly motivated students who experience a sense of connection to self and others enabling them to communicate ideas and develop a vision for their lives.  Courageous curiosity is at the heart of student-driven learning and embraces not only the individual uniqueness of self but also the uniqueness of others pulling us together to become powerful contributors to society.

If we truly want to prepare our students for the world that is to come it is time to embrace a dynamic move to full student-led learning. We have the capabilities through technology to achieve this, my hope is that we have the courage to embrace the extraordinary capabilities of our students and let them show us what is inside their creative minds and how they envision a new world. 

YouPlanIt Classroom not only makes this possible but makes it very easy!

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Your comments are always welcome.  Link


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