Friday, May 9, 2014

The Reluctance To Take Charge

I participated in last night's #byotchat, and this exchange about the reluctance on the part of some students to take charge really got me thinking.

In the student-centered classroom, students take ownership of their own learning.  While last night's chat centered around the byot mindset, there are many parallels between the two concepts.  The question that JD Ferries-Rowe was responding to related to helping students achieve the byot mindset.  (Dr. Tim Clark explains the byot mindset in this blog post.)  

His answer, and the follow-up conversation that included Heather Theijsmeijer, focused on the importance of not providing the students with the answers.  While the teacher used to be the sole source of information in the classroom; in today's classroom, that is no longer required, or even advisable.  

Heather likened the students response to her not giving them the answers to being told to eat your broccoli.  I have tried to get kids to eat broccoli before, and it is quite a challenge to overcome their protests!  To get that same response when not giving students the answers they are seeking leads me to wonder about the reasons behind the actions.

Teachers like to help their students, it is in our nature and one of the main reasons we are teachers.  But, is this willingness to assist our students resulting in some unintended consequences?  Have students become so accustomed to us helping them that they have lost the ability to take charge and go and find the answers to their own questions?  

I posit that yes, there is a strong connection between these two ideas, almost like a learned helplessness on the part of the students that teachers are reinforcing.

What do you think?  Are there other reasons for this reaction from students?  Are we doing too much handholding? 

No comments:

Post a Comment