West Virginia Achieves Professional Development Series Volume XIII Self-Directed Student Learning West Virginia Department of Education Mission The West Virginia Department of Education, in conjunction with the Regional Education Service Agencies and the Office of Performance Audits, will create systemic conditions, processes and structures within the West Virginia public school system that result in (1) all students achieving mastery and beyond and (2) closing the achievement gap among sub-groups of the student population. Robert Hutchins The Conflict in Education in a Democratic Society “Perhaps the greatest idea that America has given the world is education for all. The world is entitled to know whether this idea means that everybody can be educated or simply that everyone must go to school.” What We Know… An emerging body of research identifies characteristics of high performing school systems. These school systems have made significant progress in bringing all students to mastery and in closing the achievement gap. These systems share characteristics described in The West Virginia Framework for High Performing Schools. HIGH PERFORMING SCHOOL SYSTEM SYSTEMIC CONTINUOUS STUDENT/PARENT SUPPORT SCHOOL EFFECTIVENESS INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICES CURRICULLUM MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENT PROCESS CULTURE OF COMMON BELIEFS & VALUES Dedicated to “Learning for ALL…Whatever It Takes” Brainstorming Session What are our ideas for improving student achievement in our schools? Common Responses • More financial support • Smaller class sizes • More support staff to assist teachers • Fewer preparations for teachers • Higher teacher salaries to attract people into profession • Students with stronger work ethic • More planning time for teachers • Fewer initiatives from district/state/federal levels • Time for quality professional development • More access to technology for staff and students • Better facilities Improving Student Achievement • Academic goals for every student that are clear, focused and widely understood • Close monitoring of each student’s learning on a frequent and timely basis • Systemic plan to give extra time and support to students experiencing difficulty • Strong parent partnerships based on twoway communication Improving Student Achievement • Meaningful & timely information to every teacher regarding how well his or her students met school learning goals • Collaborative culture in which teachers work in teams to analyze student achievement on common assessments, develop strategies to improve current levels of achievement, and help one another build on the student’s strengths and address the student’s weaknesses Improving Student Achievement • Safe and orderly environment, with clear parameters for student behavior and consistent enforcement of these parameters, where everyone treats one another with mutual respect • General assumption that it is the school’s job to see that students learn rather than merely be taught The Window or the Mirror? The Self Directed Learner System-wide instructional approach that develops students as self-directed learners who understand performance standards and use reflective practice for improving work Self-Directed Learners • • • • • • • • are responsible for their own learning take charge and are self-regulated define learning goals & problems meaningful to them have a big picture of how specific activities relate to those goals develop standards of excellence evaluate how well they have achieved their goals have alternate routes or strategies for attaining goals, correcting errors and redirecting themselves when plans do not work know their strengths and weaknesses and how to deal with them productively and constructively Self-directedness • “means more than merely taking initiative. It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We can subordinate feelings to values. We have the initiative and the responsibility to make things happen.” Stephen R. Covey How do educators nurture student selfdirection and personal efficacy? • What must be in place for this to occur? • Must the roles of the various educators change? • Must the roles of the students change? • What about the roles parents play in the education of their children? Instruction Pillar • Nurturing & supportive classroom environments with high expectations • Research-based instructional management practices • Standards-based framework for unit & lesson design • Differentiated instructional model • High-yield instructional strategies • Formative & performance assessments • Adjustments of instructional time by grade, class, school • Integration of “writing to inform” & comprehension development strategies • System-wide approach to student acceleration through scaffolding & previewing • Instructional support system for teachers • Instructional monitoring system for data collection for school and district improvement “ To teach is not to transfer knowledge but to create the possibilities for the production or construction of knowledge.” Paolo Freire, Author Pedagogy of the Oppressed Teacher and Student Roles Teacher as Coach or Facilitator • • • • • • • • • Nurturing and supportive Respect for individual differences High expectations for all Instructional management practices that provide focused, productive classrooms Differentiated instructional strategies Research-based instructional strategies Formative assessments to inform instructional practice Performance assessments Data analysis, cooperative planning, reflective practice The kind of schools we need would be staffed by teachers who are as interested in the questions students ask after a unit of study as they are in the answers students give. On the whole, schools are highly answer-oriented. Teachers have the questions, and students are to have the answers. Even with a problem-solving approach, the focus of attention is on the student’s ability to solve a problem that someone else has posed. Yet the most intellectually demanding tasks lie not so much in solving problems as in posing questions. Elliot Eisner, Stanford University Students as Engaged Learners • Set goals • Choose tasks • Develop assessments and standards (rubrics) for the tasks • Actively develop repertoire of thinking/learning strategies • Develop new ideas and understanding in conversations and work with others Performance, of course, means the ability to do something; it is active and creative. Recognizing a correct answer out of a predetermined list of responses is fundamentally different from the act of reading, or writing, or speaking, or reasoning, or dancing, or anything else that human beings do in the real world. Linda Darling-Hammond Stanford University Engaging Practices Seen in High Performing Schools • Authentic, challenging & multidisciplinary tasks • Generative, performance-based, seamless and ongoing assessment • Interactive and generative instructional model • Collaborative, knowledge-building and empathetic learning culture • Heterogeneous, equitable and flexible grouping practices What might we see in a system focused on developing self-directed learners? • Standards-referenced descriptions of student learning • Performance criteria and standards made public What might we see in a system focused on developing self-directed learners? School-wide focus on before, during and after instruction strategies designed to develop student self-direction and efficacy What might we see in a system focused on developing self-directed learners? • Instructional and assessment rubrics • Portfolios for self-assessment • Student-led conferencing Rubrics Instructional • Teach as well as evaluate • Help students understand goals of the task • Guide students in selfdirected planning and goal setting, revising and editing Assessment • Used by teachers to score and grade student work Portfolios • Collections of student work representing a selection of performance • Student’s best pieces and the student’s evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the pieces • One or more works-in-progress that illustrate the creation of a product, such as an essay, evolving through various stages of conception, drafting and revision Turning a writing notebook into a portfolio • Arrange all works of writing from most to least effective, including all evidence of the writing process behind each final draft. • Reflect on two best works. On a separate sheet of paper for each work, answer these questions: – What makes this your best (second best) work? – How did you go about writing it? – What problems did you encounter? – How did you solve them? – What goals did you set for yourself? – How did you go about accomplishing them? • Place this evaluation of your process and product in front of each final draft when completed. Portfolio • Answer these two questions on single sheets of paper at the front of your portfolio: – What makes your most effective work different from your least effective work? – What are your goals for future writing? • Include an illustrated cover or title page and a table of contents at the beginning of your portfolio. What is student-led conferencing? Student-Led Conferences Process of preparing for and conducting conferences allows students to • look at their own performances in the classroom • organize a presentation about their learning • carry out that presentation • reflect on the effectiveness of the presentation with goal of improving future performances What do we mean by authentic? The real value of portfolios as documents of authentic learning and quality of work is in the fact that they can, when shared with an audience beyond the classroom, motivate students to do a better job than they might normally do. Authentic Assessment • • • • How are you doing? What do you need to work on to improve? What strategies could you use to improve? What have you learned, and how can you use it beyond the classroom? Intrinsic motivation is the engine for improvement. If it is kept alive and nourished, quality can and will occur. If it is killed, quality goes with it. W. Edwards Deming “In many schools, parents stand on the periphery of the school community, some feeling hopeless, helpless, and unwanted. Parents must become active participants in the assessment process.” International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English Joint Task Force on Assessment 1994 How do educators nurture student self-direction and personal efficacy? Table Talk • What are the new ideas worth pursuing? • Has your thinking changed? • What are the next steps in the development of self-directed learners in your school/system? Resources • Benson, B., & Barnett, S. (1999). Student-Led Conferencing Using Showcase Portfolios. Corwin Press, Inc. • Danielson, C., & Abrutyn, L. (1997). An Introduction to Using Portfolios in the Classroom. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. • Michigan Schools in the Middle. High-Performing Teams. (2002). Central Michigan University. • WVDE Office of Middle Level Education. Reading as a Tool for Thinking and Learning. Middle Level Education Cadre Professional Development available on-line at http://reinvent.k12.wv.us. • WVDE Office of Middle Level Education. Student-Led Conferencing. Middle Level Education Cadre Professional Development available on-line at http://reinvent.k12.wv.us.