Newsflash: Teachers are learners! Yet, the strategies we use to help teachers innovate their practices often get in the way of learning. It’s as if we’re still operating according to the old, tired adage: “Do as I say, not as I do.” To optimize teacher learning and magnify educators’ impact in the classroom, we need to start with the needs of the learner — the adult learner — and that means practicing with them what we claim we should be doing with kids.
And that’s precisely what we’re doing! Students at the Center Distinguished Fellow Arthur Baraf with co-fellow Lori McEwen created a course for Providence College designed to support teacher-learners to master four core competencies known to promote high achievement in secondary-level students.
The novel approach here is that the course actually uses learner-centered practices rather than just talking about them. Stated as objectives, the four competencies around which the course is built are:
- Teacher-learners will be able to explain with clarity, depth, and nuance what student-centered learning strategies are and how they help to achieve both career/college/civic readiness and equity in urban settings
- Teacher-learners will be able to analyze and reflect on their own beliefs and mindsets in relation to various student-centered approaches and school models
- Teacher-learners will be able to apply student-centered learning strategies in their classrooms
- Teacher-learners will be able to develop teacher leadership skills to effectively communicate student-centered practices to others using digital tools
Perhaps the most exciting part of this invaluable resource is its dynamicity — as Arthur teaches new sections of the course, he will be reflecting, revising, and updating content and resources based on the feedback he receives from his students and the data he gathers regarding the effectiveness of the lessons. The course will, therefore, live online and evolve and improve with learner and user input. How cool is that?
Interested? Sign up here to join a community of leaders, practitioners, and teacher-educators as Arthur teaches Student-Centered Learning to another group of educators (beginning this January). And don’t forget to check back as we share course revisions and the final projects created by the teacher-learners in this first iteration of the course.