Between the classroom and the real world, the case for student-led learning couldn’t be more striking. In an eSchool News study, 89% of educators said it was important for students to lead their own learning. A recent survey of employers revealed the two qualities they want in their employees above all else: leadership and the ability to work in a team—two skills that don’t come from what gets instilled in students, but instead what comes out.
If student-led learning is so great, why isn’t it implemented in every classroom? Student-led is a shift from the deeply entrenched mental model of the classroom—teacher in front delivering knowledge to open minds seated in desks or “Sage on the Stage”. It also requires letting go of some degree of teacher control by handing off more responsibility for learning to the students and becoming a “Guide on the Side”. To truly make student-led learning work, students need the resources and skills that help them succeed.
Fortunately, those resources now exist, and those skills can be taught. Here are three questions you can help each of your students answer:
- “How do I learn best?” It could be anything from “I learn best by doing” to “I have to visualize it.”
- “What accommodations do I need to do my best work?” The technology is officially here. Students have access to accommodations and tools that will help them thrive at school and in their careers.
- “How do I self-advocate for what I need?” This is difficult for many students at first. But just like any new skill, it gets easier and easier with practice.
The student-led classroom model helps students take charge of their own lives, and it allows them to learn—and, one day, work—with purpose, autonomy, and mastery.
The traditional model did its job for quite some time. But now it’s time for a change.