Skip to content
ascd logo

Log in to Witsby: ASCD’s Next-Generation Professional Learning and Credentialing Platform
April 1, 2011
Vol. 68
No. 7

Among Colleagues / How Can We Help Students Take Ownership of Learning?

Among Colleagues / How Can We Help Students Take Ownership of Learning? - thumbnail
Q: What techniques have you found to be particularly helpful in encouraging your students to take responsibility for their own learning?
<ATTRIB>—Misty M. LaCour, Assistant Professor of Education, Southern Arkansas University, Magnolia, Arkansas</ATTRIB>

Help Students Practice Leadership

A: Although many of our students come to us ready, willing, and able to take ownership of their own learning, we must teach students what that actually means and how to practice it on a day-to-day basis. Stephen Covey's book The Leader in Me (Free Press, 2008) is one resource that can help schools develop student leadership and responsibility.
As a principal and district-level leader, I am a strong advocate of student-led conferences, student-led mastery tracking tools, and student-led organizations. It's up to schools to create educational environments where students feel empowered to be involved.
<ATTRIB>—S. Dallas Dance, Chief Middle Schools Officer, Houston Independent School District, Texas</ATTRIB>

Provide Opportunities for Self-Management

It's important to provide opportunities in the school and the classroom for students to exercise responsibility. In my cooperative literacy model (described in Building Literacy in Social Studies, ASCD, 2007), the class is organized into interdependent, heterogeneous learning teams in which students hold one another accountable for everything from arriving on time to participating productively during the class period. Students learn to manage themselves and establish a greater role in how the class functions. The teacher provides feedback to tell students how they are performing.
After-school clubs, teams, and organizations can also help students learn self-management. Like other activities that require a degree of fluency, responsibility requires practice. To get them on their way, give students the opportunity to learn and practice responsible roles.
<ATTRIB>—Ron Klemp, Professor, Santa Monica College and California State University, Northridge</ATTRIB>

Have Students Help Set Learning Goals

For English language learners (ELLs), taking responsibility includes demonstrating their English language proficiency. I suggest talking with ELLs individually about their level of English proficiency and setting goals to reflect where they need to focus in the areas of speaking, writing, reading, or listening in English.
Often, English learners acquire conversational English faster than academic language, which can mask their level of language proficiency. By including students in setting their own academic goals, we help them become active, instead of passive, participants in the learning and assessment process.
<ATTRIB>—Ayanna Cooper, ESL Site Director, Boston Teacher Residency</ATTRIB>

This article was published anonymously, or the author name was removed in the process of digital storage.

Learn More

ASCD is a community dedicated to educators' professional growth and well-being.

Let us help you put your vision into action.
From our issue
Product cover image 111035.jpg
The Transition Years
Go To Publication