What does an actual school leader use to inform their work as they implement student-centered practices, instruction, and professional development for their staff? This Student-Centered Learning Podcast series gets to the heart of this very question in a compelling conversation between host Arthur Baraf, who is also principal at The MET School in Rhode Island, and instructional leader, Alin Bennett. Baraf, an educator for over 17 years in student-centered schools, shares recommendations for resources for educators who want to hit the ground running with student-centered instruction as they begin their careers. Bennett adds the teacher perspective and details how these resources have been useful to him as an instructional leader at The MET. The resources (linked below) are actionable tools and strategies that have been field-tested by Baraf and his staff and have proven to help improve student agency and bring deeper learning outcomes for their students.
1. Career Exploration
Baraf and Bennett assert that for high school students, it is never too early for them to understand how their curriculum and lessons align with the real world. These resources are all sites that can help students, with guidance from adults, explore careers. The sites can, for example, help students plan backward from the career they are interested in and set realistic expectations about what it takes to reach their goal. Others can help students to build a resume, offer resume examples as well as checklists for job interviews.
- Dept of Labor Bureau of Labor Stats Occupational Outlook Handbook
- O-Net online
- My Next Move
- CareerOneStop Videos
- MN State CareerWise (formerly iSeek)
2. Instructional Strategies
A variety of instructional strategies are discussed on the podcast, and the resource below provides an overview of “literature circles”, where students are able to evaluate literature in-depth and within small groups. Literature circles help students personalize what they read and the level at which they read because students can choose their own books. Literature circles use a “theme” as a common thread, providing framing for group conversations and ensures students are hitting content targets.
3. Social-emotional learning, behavioral practices, and community building
These resources are useful to help teachers develop a responsive student-centered approach to classroom management rather than employ reactive disciplinary actions. The list below also includes a practical tool called “I am” poems that can help teachers learn about student’s identity, interests, likes and dislikes to encourage and support a culture of trust.
This is part two in a series developed by the Student at the Center Hub team and Arthur Baraf, a Students at The Center Distinguished Fellow, principal of The MET, an innovative public school in Providence, Rhode Island and the host of The Student-Centered Learning Podcast. Subscribe and stay tuned for more episodes or check out the archives for a variety of SCL topics on Podomatic, Stitcher or iTunes.