Sunday, September 8, 2013

Student Choice - Why & How?

I like having a say in the choices I make...  

I know how hard it can be if their is no choice and one just have to follow 'instructions', especially if you disagree that this is the right option for you.
Yes, each of us must deal with situations in which we have no choice, for instance we have to obey the law, which by the way is a good thing to do.

Having a choice, however is good and students make choices all day long, and by offering choice we are not simply giving them complete control in the classroom or the curriculum.  We are just providing them with appropriate options, helping them to make and accept their choices. That way we are developing confident, independent life long learners.

Why choice?

  • Allowing a certain degree of choice in learning activities can help manage student behavior in class
  • By giving them choice in learning activities, student engagement can increase and therefore boost attention span
  • Learning choices will give students a sense of knowing that their voice matter

Create a menu of options for students to select from, but ensure that direct suggestions are given to that student who is hesitant to make a choice.  
Some examples might be:

  • Choose where they want to sit in the classroom
  • Make a choice from at least two learning activities
  • Select a learning buddy with whom the can collaborate

Lastly, make sure students know what is expected of them and this will lay the foundation for student choice to be integrated seamlessly into the classroom.

Further Reading:
"Developing Responsible and Autonomous Learners: A Key to Motivating Students"

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