What does your classroom sound like during a typical lesson? Are you leading the lesson or activity? Do your students discuss and have conversations with one another? Are there choices for students? Reading the first two paragraphs of this chapter made me 100% jealous, I’ll admit. In my classroom, we often have discussions and work together in student-led groups. However, we also have times where we are doing teacher-directed worksheets or lectures.
I like to think of myself as the “forward-thinking educator” that Paul Solarz describes in this chapter. I am seeking out this book to change what happens in my classroom on a daily basis. I also like to think that I am a teacher seeks strategies that work for my students. But where do we begin with creating a student-led classroom?
In my classroom, especially during math instruction, I to a LOT of small groups. My students are all over my classroom completing independent work at their own pace. Students work both in groups as well as individually depending on the tasks that they need to complete on that particular day. I always fear that fellow teachers might view my room as chaos. Although it isn’t silent, it is organized chaos. That makes it ok, right?! Paul Solarz says, “Going against the flow isn’t easy.” I like this quote because it makes me feel like it’s ok for my classroom to look different than someone else down the hall. 🙂
Solarz says that “a student-led classroom is one in which students make decisions and choices throughout the day without consulting the teacher.” He also stresses that creating a student-led classroom doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of training your students, practice, and patience as the students begin their student-led journey. Classrooms that focus on a student-led approach “are only effective if students feel safe, appreciated, and connected to their teacher.”
I can’t wait to continue reading and sharing the remaining sections of this book with you! Are you intrigued in beginning the development or honing in your current skills on managing a student-led classroom?