To establish a truly student centered classroom the facilitator must build community.
The quick points:
- create a welcome letter that shares something personal and ask them to share
- first week concentrate on community building activities and comfort - have some fun
- focus on language safety and make clear engagement rules that are equal and fair
- always have something that's fun, creative and connected to the class material (eg. Scrabble for words, use words from novels/books for extra points - competition with self not partner)
- do meaningful out of class work at times - go outside (eg. sit in cafeteria and describe - deal with the senses)
- include students in decision making (eg. who do they think society ignores; what issues need more voice, etc.)
- always have meaningful research to connect with the world (eg. teach the class about geographic location; what religions; what do can we learn about culture? etc.)
- always give chances for students to share (their observations and experiences)
- have students choose to go with a group of two or three - no more
- let students decide on presentation structure - don't choose the front of the classroom
- presentations can be done like talk shows
- discuss technology and what it can produce - have students discuss the best technology for their presentations
STUDENTS TALK (link to come)
A message to facilitators (teachers/instructors)
My overall reading goal is - The Novel as a Bridge to the Real World
The environment will always be diverse in many ways. In order to be truly fair to the "student centered" approach one has to be always flexible and willing to struggle with discomfort. Staying cognizant of your own identity and position is necessary to this approach; it makes you question every decision you make; you will take nothing for granted.
Share information always. Explain your approach to teaching and allow students to collaborate and participate in the governance of your environment. Be explicit about expectations and outcomes; discuss the short term goals (grades if necessary and appropriate) and the long term goals (the realities of social issues and the role that education plays in change).
Allow time for collaboration and individual preparation. Give students time to come up with ideas before hand. In this way you accommodate different personalities; the introverted student has some more time to think and all students feel their ideas contribute. Keep groups to three; give students enough tasks to engage different talents and strengths.
See list of books and quotes.
Goals: community, sharing, examining reality, producing literacy projects, reading, writing, computer
form community using personal letters, introductions, group work
Read oral histories and novels as bridge to real world
use questionnaires to give order to essays - visual and written
use interviews to create essays, visual projects and youtube presentations
critical thinking - crossing borders and stepping into other shoes
As an avid reader, I recognized the power of books in my life. My experiences and my observations led me to choose the role of reading instructor. Simply put, I wanted to guide learners into the world of books; I wanted to walk with them into a world of critical thinking. I was motivated to use books/novels to examine the real world.
Fiction and non-fiction! Books - Novels. On their own they are paper and ink, but they are also the explosives planted at the closed doors of hidden histories;they are the explosives planted at the corners of closed minds. They are the ladders over walls that seem impenetrable; they are the ropes into open windows and they are the ropes thrown to drowning minds.
A 21st Century Literacy Project is a program to honor students and to center voices. After 10 years of teaching reading and writing courses at a city college, I believe this program is a critical contribution to the enhancement of student potential today.
Maya Angelou's foreword for Dust Tracks on a Road
As a university student, I started an after school program in Oakland and received funding.