Information Age Education Blog
Being Increasingly Responsible for Your Own Education
Many (most) readers of this IAE Blog entry are able to decide for themselves what they want to learn and how they want to use what they learn. They routinely act as independent, self-motivated, self-directed learners. This is rather amazing, since our educational system is so strongly oriented toward students learning what they are told to learn, using processes and aids provided by teachers, and being assessed by a system that cares little about the specific interests and goals of the students.
In essence, our educational system promotes a form of learned helplessness as contrasted with students being able to make decisions about what they want to learn and how to learn it. See http://iae-pedia.org/Learned_Helplessness.
In my opinion, our educational system can be much improved by helping students of all ages to decide what they happen to be interested in learning (or learning to do) at the time, and providing them with help in gaining the needed knowledge and skills. This does not preclude placing a major emphasis on learning reading, writing, and basic numeracy. We adults strongly believe that literacy and numeracy are necessary for a person to be able to function as an adult who can be self-reliant and also responsive to the needs of other people and our world.
The following book is available free on the Web:
Moursund, D.G. (2008, 2009). Becoming More Responsible for Your Education. Eugene, OR: Information Age Education. Access at http://i-a-e.org/downloads/doc_download/39-becoming-more-responsbile-for-your-education.html.
This 96-page book has an 8th grade reading level and is written specifically for young teenagers. Its goal is to help students learn to take more responsibility for their own education. By age 13, many students are beginning to have the mental maturity to take a major role in their own education. Preservice teachers, inservice teachers, and parents will also find the book useful. For example, parents may want to read the book with their teen-age children, and use the reading to facilitate “serious” educational conversations with them.
What You Can Do
Spend a bit of time reflecting on what you have just read. How does it fit in with your current knowledge, beliefs, and activities? How can you make use of the information to help improve our informal and formal educational systems? Who do you know that might benefit from reading this IAE Blog entry?
If the IAE Blog entries are useful to you, then consider signing up for a Free Subscription. (See the menu on the left side of the page). You will automatically receive email about new postings to the IAE Blog. Typically, there are about three new postings per week.
The IAE Blog entries tend to have a relatively long "shelf life." However, over time, the references tend to get out of date. You can help your fellow readers and IAE by adding a Comment that includes an up-to-date reference and its URL. Your Comment should include a couple of sentences summarizing the up-to date-information and ideas.
Suggested Readings from IAE and Other Publications
You can use Google to search all of the IAE publications. Click here to begin. Then click in the IAE Search box that is provided, insert your search terms, and click on the Search button.
Click here to search the entire collection of IAE Blog entries.
Here are some examples of publications that might interest you.
Knowing a little about a lot and a lot about a little. See http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/knowing-a-little-about-a-lot-and-a-lot-about-a-little.html.
Learning on your own. "They know enough who know how to learn." See http://i-a-e.org/newsletters/IAE-Newsletter-2009-16.html.
Lifelong learning, learning for one's possible futures, and helping students learn for their possible futures.See http://i-a-e.org/newsletters/IAE-Newsletter-2009-14.html.
Moursund, D.G. (2008, 2009). Becoming more responsible for your education. Eugene, OR: Information Age Education. Access at http://i-a-e.org/downloads/doc_download/39-becoming-more-responsbile-for-your-education.html.
Research on how exercise improves brain functioning. See http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/research-on-how-exercise-improves-brain-functioning.htm.
Responsible adult citizen. See http://iae-pedia.org/Responsible_Adult_Citizen.
Self assessment. See http://iae-pedia.org/Self_Assessment.
Self-assessment instruments. See http://iae-pedia.org/Self-assessment_Instruments.
Student and adult desires for instant gratification and extrinsic motivation are significant roadblocks to improving education. See http://i-a-e.org/newsletters/IAE-Newsletter-2009-24.html.
Students learning from each other. See http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/students-learning-from-each-other.html.
Written by Dave Moursund, September 14, 2010
Joseph Renzulli is Professor, University of Connecticut, Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development and Director, National Research Center on Gifted and Talented. (See http://www.tki.org.nz/r/gifted...lli_e.php.) He has long been interested in creating school environments that are appropriate to serving learning needs of the full range of students in a school.
Renzulli is a strong supporter of project-based learning. Consider project-based learning in which each student works individually on a project over an extended period of time. (See http://iae-pedia.org/Project-Based_Learning.) A key idea is that students are engaged in projects that they find interesting and that are appropriately challenging to their current levels of cognitive development, knowledge, and skills. Some students will do both broader and deeper work than others. In a well-designed PBL environment, all students will learn—but there will be major differences in what and how much different students learn.
One component of Renzulli’s work that I find particularly important is called the Total Talent Portfolio (TTP). Quoting Renzulli, “The Total Talent Portfolio is a vehicle for gathering and recording information systematically about students' abilities, interests, and learning styles. (http://i-a-e.org/newsletters/I...9-19.html.)
Students should achieve autonomy and ownership of the TTP by assuming major responsibility in the selection of items to be included, maintaining and regularly updating the portfolio, and setting personal goals by making decisions about items that they would like to include in the portfolio. Although the teacher should serve as a guide in the portfolio review process, the ultimate goal is to create autonomy in students by turning control for the management of the portfolio over to them.