Moving Through The Continuum of Instructional Models

Jill Thompson is Personalized Learning Program Manager for Charlotte Mecklenberg Schools and President of Edulum. Follow her on twitter @edu_thompson


As we continue to change out instructional practices in the classroom, I think the difference between teacher-centered, student-centered and student-driven need to be better defined. I do not see student-centered and student-driven as interchangeable as they are not the same. I see these instructional models as a continuum as defined below:

We need to help move teachers across the continuum so that our classrooms are becoming places where students are agents of their own learning which is what Personalized Learning is all about.

“Education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students.”

-Solomon Ortiz

Personalized Learning leads to more student motivation, independence and empowerment. How do we move teachers across this continuum?

Here are few ways to start making the shift across the continuum. The most important thing is to remember to start small and at your pace.

From Teacher-Driven to Student-Centered:

  • Allow students to have choice through a standard based choice board
  • Implement a workshop model
  • Allow students to self assess after a project is complete (self-assessment)
  • Allow students to set goals.

From Student-Centered to Student-Driven:

  • Allow students to own and track their own data
  • Allow students to chose what task they want to complete off their data
  • Allow students to plan lessons of skills they have mastered

The hardest thing for teachers to do within each model is the release of control to the students. As you move across the continuum, the teacher has less control which often gets confused with not having any classroom management but this should not be the case. There always should still be rules and clear expectations in the classroom no matter what model you are utilizing.

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