I am sitting in a CTS class and I am watching a group of students work independently creating projects without instruction from the teacher (me, I am subbing today). It has got me to thinking, and I mean I think a lot on days like these because subbing can be very demanding or essentially putting me in a place of classroom babysitter. My thoughts are running around in my head questioning why we can't have all classes run this way.
Why can't students work at their own pace just being given an outcome they must show you how they understand it in their own way? It could work within any class if the teacher is creative enough to set up their classroom that way. The teacher also has to be willing to let go of control. You can't have the students learn the concepts at their speed but at the speed that they are comfortable with.
I could come up with all kinds of examples of how teachers could start this in small units which will gradually grow into larger units, until their whole course load is self directed by the students, and the teacher is simply there to facilitate their learning.
I know things would look chaotic and some students may not complete everything at the same time, but at least they aren't left behind feeling like a failure, they are working with others and completing things at a speed which they are able to fully process and comprehend the concepts. Is it not better to say that 100% of my students understood the concepts they completed as opposed to I completed 100% of the concepts but not all my students understood them all?
I am going to try to do this in my next science unit, I have already given some control over to my students in the current unit and it's going well, but now I just have to become more creative so my students can become more creative. Even with my religion class we will see how this goes. I think it will become a lot of reflection what are the big questions I want my students to be able to answer at the end of their units.
If any science or middle school teachers out there have suggestions I would love to hear them!!!