2 What Does It Mean to “Own” Your Education?

Sarah Wirtz and Riley Page

So what is ownership of education? Ownership of education is how much influence the students have in deciding the direction of the class.  For example, on one end of the education spectrum there is a type of class that utilizes a teaching method called the banking method. The banking method is the “old timey” method that a majority of people are accustomed to. This means that the students are usually held to rigid inflexible standards and assignments.

What about the opposite side of the spectrum for ownership of education? When a classroom is on the opposite side of the spectrum, they leave the banking method and utilize something called problem posing education. Instead of focusing on just remembering facts in the banking method and nothing else, the problem posing education  method focuses more on flexibility and asking questions. This leaves more room for growth in students and allows them to take ownership of their education.

So now that both sides of the spectrum have been introduced, what are the pros and cons of both? WIth problem posing education, there is more opportunity for every student to be involved with the learning process and openly discuss and ask questions. In other words, they have more ownership over their education. If they are more engaged in discussion, they are more likely to learn because of their engagement.

On the other hand,while the banking method may help students remember facts, do they understand them? There’s a statement from http://theoretical-lens.blogspot.com/ that seems to describe both opposite sides of the spectrum of ownership of education quite well:

“Banking education damages the true meaning of learning and inhibits the creative power of the students, submerging their consciousness, while problem posing education creates a classroom of tuned in critical thinkers who will be engaged in their surrounding and based on this, partake in lifelong learning and progression within the self as well as throughout their surroundings. “

So now it’s known that ownership of education is important, but what can be utilized to highly encourage it? One possible method to help encourage open education may be open pedagogy. Open pedagogy is learning and teaching using open access resources and special permissions. These special permissions are called the 4r’s, in order for something to qualify  be under the 4r’s the educational resource must have these traits:

  • Reuse: the right to reuse the content in its unaltered/verbatim form (e.g., make a backup copy of the content)
  • Revise: the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  • Remix: the right to combine the original or revised content with other content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  •  Redistribute: the right to share copies of the original content, the revisions, or the remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

Student centered learning

What does the term “Student Centered Learning” mean to you? The term student–centered learning refers to a wide variety of educational programs, learning experiences, instructional approaches, and academic-support strategies that are intended to address the distinct learning needs, interests, aspirations, or cultural backgrounds of individual students and groups of students. In many cases people have close to no clue what this term means or in other cases have never heard of this term at all. Before taking my first year seminar for my college, I was one of those people who didn’t know what the term met. After reading and learning more about this topic, I have come to a better understand why people are so passionate about this topic. Student Centered Learning is a new way educators are teaching their students. This method was created to allow the students to become more independent learners and think more for themselves. The big idea for this way of learning is for the teacher to be teaching and get a conversation flowing but then when things are going well, they will slowly back off and let the kids teach themselves and eachother. This is a very good and effective way of learning, but it comes with many pros and cons.

The first article I read was called “Student-Centered Learning; It Starts With the Teacher”. This article talked a lot about the benefits a student will get once the teacher leaves them in charge of their learning. Although it is hard at first and might get awkward, the teacher talks about how they need to leave the students alone and let them work it out for their own good. “Leaving with skills and strategies that can be used immediately to impact instruction and work-related responsibilities.”. This is a good method to use when you are trying to get you students to understand and pick up more learning responsibility. For example, if you provide the students the information they need to succeed and do well they will have no reason to do bad or fail with it. I firmly believe you need to fail in like a few time  at something to truly understand it in the end. Another point the article made was it allows students to share decision making. This is an important skill to have because it allows the student to understand the importance the knowledge has before getting quiz on it. This allows the students to share ideas and collaborate and with that collaboration it is making the work stick and lets them get a better understanding.

The next article I read talked more about the pros and cons you might run into while teaching student centered learning. In any method of learning, there are going to pros but those pros are going to be followed by cons. The first pro they talked about is letting the students be out of a normal atmosphere. It allows them to not be quiet and uninvolved as they watch teach stand in the front of a classroom spitting out information at them. Studies show that kids are more likely to sit in silence and be less involved in classrooms with the teacher in front of them spitting out facts at them. This article also talks about the independence a student can adopt while having to teach and learn on their own and with their classmates. This can be connected to the last article I was talking about because they talked about the responsibility you will get from it. Both independence and responsibility are good traits to have and even more beneficial if you were able to learn them at a young age. If students are taught these traits in elementary, middle school and high school, it will help their college learning so much easier and the transition a lot easier for them. A big thing new college students struggle with is the responsibility. College is a lot more work and freedom than these new student are used too. You no longer have your teachers or  parents down your back making sure you work is getting done. I do believe that is one of the main reasons why student struggle as much as they do their first year in college. Some of the cons this article talks about are kids falling behind.The whole point of this method is so students learn how to learn on their own and in some way problem solve without being directed or taught step by step. A big concern for the teachers running classrooms like this is the student falling behind. Since you will not be having a teach in front of you directing you, your mind might get lost and board causing it to wonder. If you mind starts to wonder your not learning and doing what you’re suppose to be doing. Another problem is the help some students might actually need. Everyone is different and they learn in their own way and their own speed, so if we make classrooms student centered, there might be a few student in the classroom who do not pick up things as well or as fast as other. They might need extra help from the teacher. Another way this is a con is the noise and the students being on task. This is encouraging students to be collaborative and word together, by doing this it could make the students too social.Since the student will be interacting with one and another that makes it very easy for the kids to get off topic and loud while working with their friends. I personally saw this happening alot to me in high school with group projects. Often in my high school we did group projects and most of the time the teacher would let you pick who you wanted to work with, it was very common people would pick there friend and it would be very common for these students to get distracted.If the students are getting distracted that usually means their work is not getting done and the students are not learning anything.

There are many good and bad things about student centered learning. I believe it all depends on they type of person you are in order to be able to learn from it or not. Allowing this to be a thing in schools is a big responsibility due to the fact it might fail. In the future, I personally think there will be more classrooms and teachers who think this would be good and give it a try. If the student are willing to try and participate in this new method I do think it could work and be very beneficial, but on the other hand, if the students are unwilling to take part and follow direction it could be a big fail. Schooling has been around for many years and it’s alway been the teacher teaching the students, since the world is changing so much and so much is happening, I don’t think this would be a bad thing to try out. The way I think it would work the most is if you slowly ease into the method instead of throwing everything at the student all at once. Overall this method does have the potential of working and teaching many students.

This article talked about the benefits students grades will have on student centered learning. Student centered learning is when the ordinary classrooms you are used to seeing are flipped. Everyone is used to the teacher in front of the classroom lecturing the students, but with student centered learning it is the opposite. This is when students are given some information and they are forced to problem and solve and work together in order to move on and learn the materials. Some say this method might not work and is a waste of time, but this article disagrees. It talks about the students actually getting better grades from methods like this because it is more engaging and more hands on. Since it is involving the students so much it is allowing them to be more interested and enjoy learning more. This article relates to the blog post I have written in the past about grading and the importance of it. For some people school comes harder than it does for others. By being more hands on I think it will help everyone in the long run because I personally think things are easily more understood with interaction.

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What Does It Mean to "Own" Your Education? by Sarah Wirtz and Riley Page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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