Friday, April 10, 2009

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The Student-led continuum

I have been on many places of the student-led continuum (where students do various amounts of leading their own education) in my teaching career.

I started in a traditional school , making lesson plans that were supposedly tailored to my students (I teach special ed- I get to do that, or at least try to).

Then I "unschooled" my own children, trying NOT to make plans but following their lead.

Now I work in a "project-based" school, where I try to help students come up with projects that are part their interest and part the State Standards.

It has been a very confusing journey, and I can see good and bad things about each point on the continuum. Sometimes teacher-led lessons seemed very effective and helpful, but sometimes they brought about rebellion or fear. Following student's interests sometimes had them bored and restless, wanting more input and/or friends and activities. But sometimes they were happy as clams, busily play/working all day on their current interests and passions. The current effort to design projects around state standards (or vice versa) can bring kids to new heights, but also lead to dissatisfaction and boredom.

I guess it's all exploration. And whatever the results, I hope it benefits the students I work with. So far, so good :)