inQuiring minds #004

Hello everyone, and welcome back from what was hopefully a great Independence Day! inQuiring minds is back too, giving you a snapshot of our favorite blogs, articles, ideas, opportunities and interesting thought pieces we’ve discovered on the web this week. As always, please let us know what you think– share your comments below, post on our Facebook page, or tweet @RightQuestion!

Students Owning Their Learning

This week we bring you some pieces that discuss the importance of student-centered learning and student ownership of learning. Last week, our co-directors Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana gave the the keynote address at the Institute for Student Achievement Conference and one teacher decided afterward that “As an educator, I need to release some of my responsibility to my students so that more learning will be coming from the student than the teacher.” We couldn’t agree more, and the articles below all speak to that need.

  • Katie Ash writes in a recent post about the ISTE Conference in San Diego, CA that panelists agree: “flipping the classroom’s biggest strength is placing the responsibility for learning in the students’ hands.”
  • Michael Furdyk writes for the Getting Smart Blog on informal learning practices and informal education, which he says “significantly increase engagement by giving learners an opportunity to direct their learning.” He also reminds us that “informal learning should not be seen as a threat to the formal education system, but as a challenge, model, and important counterpart.”
  • In his post for on personalized learning, student engagement, and the flipped class, Will Richardson argues that to truly engage kids we must “give them opportunities to learn personally, to create their own texts and courses of study, and to pursue that learning with others in and out of the classroom who share a passion.”

Jerry Blumengarten has also provided with an extensive directory of links all focused on student-centered learning in the “Cybraryman’s Internet Catalogue.” He also has several other educational websites linked on his main page.

Innovation in Education

Also discovered this week are several articles about innovative practices in education and the challenges of embracing and letting go of “old practices.” The articles below discuss the need for change in the classroom environment and the teacher-student dynamic.

  • Mark Barnes’ post talks about the importance of a collaborative environment in the classroom: why teachers need to throw out the old rules and create a safe workplace based on mutual respect and mutual ownership of learning.
  • On the blog, Jeff Dunn writes about the current state of innovation in education. He encourages teachers to treat their classrooms as “startups” and suggests that teachers “should feel free to try out exciting new techniques” in education and “figure out a way to integrate these low-cost and innovative ideas to instill the creativity bug into each student.”
  • Colleen Lynch writes about a recent study in which as many as 47% of teachers said that “the traditional lecture model, with one teacher standing at the front of the room and dictating to students is being passed up for more technological and student-inclusive approaches” in their personal teaching styles.


  1. Richard Wallace says:

    “Student as worker teacher as coach.” this is what we say we believe in at Souhegan High. What I discovered at the Fall Forum and now understand more deeply after attending the Summer Institute is using the student centered protocol for asking questions supports this philosophy.
    As a novice practioner the results are clear. This practice engages students and creates student ownership for inquiry. My challenge as a learning specialist was to resist modeling for students because then they only follow my model. It can be a leap for some of us to coach rather than teacher centered classroom. The use of this protocol fosters a safe environment for collaborative inquiry. It makes some students think in a way never considered before. It creates unanxious expectations for student learning and allows them to discover what it means to go deeper with their inquiry.It was thought provoking to work with colleagues from across the country.
    No I did not get paid to post this.
    What have others discovered while using this best practice?

    What have others discovered?

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