Student Centered – not always comfortable, but necessary

“All learning begins with the Learner” – John Dewey

The other day,  I received an email from a student which initially made me uncomfortable. She stated that she found my homework assignment, “confusing” and “unnecessary” and that she has chosen to do something else (write a short story in blog format). How dare she. I worked hard on that homework assignment and I expected this to be done. I planned to talk to her in the morning.

As she entered the classroom, I wasted no time. I  looked at her  straight in the eyes and said,

“Congratulations. You self-advocated. You are making choices and directing your own learning and I am proud of you.”

That morning, when she entered the classroom, something hit me. Literally, I had to stop and sit down. This student, like the others, demonstrated exactly what I’ve been trying to teach – a student centered, self-advocating approach to learning. I hope it continues. I hope that other teachers give her a handshake when she questions her assignments and challenges projects. I hope that she continues to explore new ways to learn, to share, and to collaborate.