It is interesting how often these days we hear educators talk about “Student Self-Advocacy”, “Self-Regulation”, or “Self-Directed Learners”. There are differences and similarities, however for this blog entry we will focus on “Self-Directed Learners”.
Why is it important? Where does it begin? These are important questions in education. Now with the Common Core Standards and the shift to more and more high stakes testing it only makes sense to move students toward becoming “Self-Directed Learners”, and it can happen within the school setting.
The best way to do this work is through Universal Design for Learning (UDL). So now let's focus on just one of the UDL Principles, Multiple Means of Action and Expression. Through this principle, we can focus on “Self-Directed Learners”.
Let us walk through a hypothetical example using the UDL Framework and focusing on one UDL Principle. The Teacher-based Team through collaborative efforts including consistent data collection and peer-to-peer teacher walk –throughs decide their students need to develop the skill of effective goal setting. Since teachers know the UDL Framework embeds graduated scaffolds for learning to set personal goals, they turn to the UDL Principle, Multiple Means of Action and Expression, Guideline 6, Checkpoint 6.1. If you want to know more about Teacher-based Teams, Building Leadership Teams or District Leaderships then click here for information.
The Teacher-based Team decides first to make the appropriate changes to their own instruction. As a group, they decide to start posting goals, and I can statements in their classrooms to help model and clarify learning. Secondly, the teachers decide to share the grade-appropriate learning standards with their students. This was a gradual transition for the teachers and the students. Eventually, the students and teachers became equal partners in learning. The teacher, of course, could hold the students accountable, however now the students are being invited to hold the teacher accountable that the standard is met. Students are now feeling empowered and in more control of their own individual learning. The students are now owning their education.
“Learning occurs at the intersection of good teaching
and students’ ownership of their educational experience.”
—The ACCESS Project Motto
While the teachers were changing their own instruction, the Teacher-based Team implemented personal goal setting for the students. The UDL Framework checkpoints 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4 provided the needed scaffolds and ideas.
The Teacher-based Team consistently monitored and collected data, while adjusting and tweaking their processes. The Building Leadership Team impressed with their results had the team share out with the District Leadership Team.
The final analysis resulted in significant gains of achievement by ALL students and the achievement gap narrowed.
Home | National Center On Universal Design for Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved June 26, 2015, from http://www.udlcenter.org/
Ohio Leadership Advisory Council | Home. Web. 26 June 2015. http://www.ohioleadership.org/.
Student Self-Advocacy and Universal Design for Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved June 26, 2015, from http://accessproject.colostate.edu/sa/sa_udl_combined.php