Skip to main content

Creating Choice

Most educators agree that higher level thinking and actually learning only takes place once there is ownership and buy-in on the part of the learner.  And that will only truly take place when CHOICE is available to the learner.  Traditionally, choice has been in the form of an elective course in high school, choosing our major in college, etc.

But we need to take choice way beyond that.  Choice needs to be part of the the daily learning and educational activities. This can come in the form of choosing a specific school or program (like a charter school or specialty school), choosing an area of interest or focus and so on.  But again, how do we create choice in our daily educational pursuits?

This is not a new idea.  Universities, researchers and most importantly, successful teacher, have been examining and implement choice in classrooms and learning for a long time.  Again, these are not new ideas.  Leaders like Alfie Kohn wrote about it 20 years ago: and psychologists agree that motivation is innately linked to choice: as well.

Again, to increase ownership and buy-in, and ultimately higher level thinking and learning, students need to have choices.  These can be choices on specific areas of study and focus in any course or required subject.  These can be project menus where students choose from a list of methodologies in terms of meeting a standard.  This could be whom we work with and when.  Collaboration is key and students have to have input on how that looks and feels.  How about choices on how to communicate with teachers, advisers and mentors?  Can the student text, direct message, call, etc. these important facilitators?

What we have seen develop in the last 15 years or more is a lack of choice.  In secondary education, electives were reduced or even eliminated.  Options on how to meet a criteria or standard were streamlined or standardized.  Choice dissipated and so did student engagement and success.

CCSS could move in a better direction.  But much of our system (A-G, core requirements, curriculum programs, etc.) are set-up to resist choice.  Indeed, it's not always natural for educators either.  When choice is presented, ownership is transferred from teacher to student.  Most of us know that this is important and successful, but not always easy and certainly not automatic by any means.

The world and the future of work are changing dramatically.  Education will have to continue to evolve and change.  Offering students CHOICE is just the beginning, but true thinking and learning start there.


Popular posts from this blog

Five Ways To Make All Students Into Lead Learners (Teachers)

It has been established long ago that the highest form of learning is teaching. When one is put in the position to teach others, one learns the content and concepts at the highest applied level in order to successfully communicate it to others. This reality has led many educators long ago to turn as much of the instruction in their classroom over to students through student presentations, projects and more. That being said, too many students still never have this opportunity to become Lead Learners - where they learn at the highest level by having the responsibility of teaching others. Here are five ways all educators can expand the opportunity for all students to learn at the highest level by all becoming teachers: STUDENTS AS PROFESSIONAL PRESENTERS
Again, students have been giving presentations in many cases for years in certain courses. I suppose even the early  years of Show & Tell were intended to have every student present, or tell a story. Well, we need to challenge all of ou…

10 Things That Must Change About Educators, Education

There are hundreds of things written daily regarding changes, reforms and new research in the profession of education. But much of this comes from outside entities (researchers, politicians, parents, leaders and others) aimed at educators. It’s time for educators to own the changes, thus owning the profession. We need to truly flip the whole concept of what it means to teach and be a true teacher.This can apply to all educators who understand that we have to redefine the profession.
     Here are my 10 things that must change about the profession and the practitioners:

Professionalism - Teachers need to claim and lead the professional standards of their own profession. Just like in the profession of law enforcement, the system cannot tolerate or endure bad professionals. Cops need to police their own and so do teachers. For too long, we have collectively accepted that there are going to be a certain percentage of just plain “bad” teachers. The fact is that they not only harm the profes…

Let's Drop 'College Ready' and Be 'Career Ready'

Education may not consistently be good at many things. But, it does seem to be great at both acronyms (CTE, PBL, EDI, ELL, SPED, PLC and so on)  and catch phrases (21st century learning, personalized learning, future ready). One of the more popular catchphrases as of late is College & Career Ready. Indeed, the ‘Career’ part is a more recent addition. For years, we really just said (and lived) College Ready. I’m here to suggest it’s time to drop the College Ready and only use Career Ready. Don’t get me wrong. I do think almost everyone needs some sort of post-secondary training, especially in our new globalized economy. But I am suggesting that we use Career Ready only knowing that one’s career path should dictate their post-secondary education or training path. Additionally, it will allow us to focus on the requisite skills and planning required for young people to have lifelong employability in the 21st century. One of the early questions to me is what does college ready really me…