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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Conceptual Framework for Student Self-Evaluation

According to Piaget, learning occurs when the brain is challenged in some way. Educators want students to be aware of this process, grow from it, and essentially control it for themselves.  In other words, we expect students to become metacognitive of their learning. I used to hear colleagues preaching to students for them to "own your behavior; own your learning" as if stating the expectation would enable students to make it so. I was delighted when I opened my Kindle app this morning on my iPad to discover Chapter 6, Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning. Author John Hattie agrees with both Piaget and the idea that students should be metacognitive. However, Hattie quickly adds that student metacognition is a "growing ability" and that teachers must encourage students by playing a direct role, by encouraging, modeling and explicitly teaching students how to engage with one another and with themselves. Teachers need to provide multiple opportunities where students are discovering, asking questions, collaborating with peers, and testing theories, but the essential role for the teacher is to intervene, to moderate, to be aware of what students are processing and at what levels.

If we really want our students to 'own their learning' and be motivated and self-directed learners, we need to be mindful to design instruction using a proven process while continually thinking from the perspective of the learner.  Wiggins and McTighe's backward design process helps teachers frame learning in such a way where beginning with the end in mind is second nature. Teachers decide learning outcomes and then work backwards, creating rubrics for measuring acceptable evidence of student learning. Clearly communicating expectations to students, helps learners create and set goals for their own learning. Students must be explicitly taught to set goals and to self-regulate as they work to meet their goals. They must be given opportunities to choose strategies that work best in specific situations and use strategies to monitor goals they've set for themselves. Most of all, students need practice, practice, practice in a safe environment.

Since I started reading Hattie's book, I have been applying my learning to professional learning opportunities I am designing for district educators. Combined with the strategies I am developing from being a part of the Effective Teacher Framework learning community, I use social networks to share my learning. This is a wonderful way to reflect while collecting feedback from others in the profession. When I tweeted my connections to Chapter 6, a peer from Texas shared her PLN's book study Pinterest board with me! Please take a look or yourself; see how elementary students are mindmapping their learning, setting goals, and documenting their progress toward meeting those goals: Glitzy In 1st Grade.



Since learning is a continual process, self-evaluation needs to take place frequently. Teachers should help students develop learning strategies and also realize when a particular strategy is not meeting their needs or goals. Often a student will see that his learning requires more effort and practice to meet his goals. Learning should be rigorus and challenging with multiple opportunities to practice, engage, debate, and synthesize learning, forcing knowledge to deepen, all while encouraging students that they 'can' learn and that you will not give up on them. Using appropriate feedback is a sure way to develop mindsets in students where growth, success and learning are synonymous.


1 comment:

  1. Love this statement, "If we really want our students to 'own their learning' and be motivated and self-directed learners, we need to be mindful to design instruction using a proven process while continually thinking from the perspective of the learner. "

    Teachers must be intentional in planning for learning!

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