Friday, June 29, 2012

Learner-Centered Instruction as a Place We Mark on a Map

Marie Clay (1998) writes:
Teachers who try to find out what children do not know (and much testing is directed to this) are looking for initial points of contact in the wrong places. What they need to do is find points of contact in children's prior learning, the things children can do, and spend a little time helping children firm up their grasp of what they already know. Students who are active, independent learners go on adding to their competencies in all their different environments, not just in school. Learner-centered instruction in less about interest and motivation than it is about starting where the learner already is and helping that learner to move toward a new degree of control over novel tasks, teaching so that learners are successful and are able to say, 'I am in control of this.' From there they go on to extend their own learning. Even at a low level of simple performance a sense of control and a sense of being effective will generate attention, interest, and motivation (pp.3-4).
What associational bridges will we build with children that spans the ways they have been learning within and beyond the classroom? What will those conversations we have with children sound like? How will they help us to keep track of what each child knows well so that we can begin at a place of strength? Tonight I am thinking about these questions, reminding myself to make time for conversations with each child. How do you build associational bridges between the child's world of active learning outside of school, and the school-based learning the child is expected to learn? From: Clay, Marie M. (1998). By different paths to common outcomes. York, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.

1 comment:

  1. It seems to me like there is no good answer to this question because it is not necessarily the job of the teacher to make this connection for students. The students have to make this connections themselves as you teach. You can provide some examples of connection, but it seems to me that you would be running around like a chicken with your head cut off if you were constantly trying to make these connections for thirty different humans. That is part of what makes the job so difficult.