Voice and Choice

According to Spencer and Juliani in the book, Empower, students spend an average of 400 minutes a day in school. How are they spending all 400 minutes? I see my role in the classroom as a guider, NOT a controller. Students learn best when they have choice and voice and create their own pathways to learning and understanding.

The approach to my philosophies are through my experiences. I have sat in the desks of Room 303. I have sat through all day PD sessions, and it can be agonizing. This is why I feel choice begins with seating. If students want to sit at my desk, floor, my center table, etc…. this can help with creating a comfortable and trusting learning environment. (YES, we will have conversations about choosing seats wisely. YES, if their seat choices are not conducive to a productive learning environment, then I take over.)

One of the simplest words I can say to students as their teacher is, “Yes.” Students have wonderful ideas and and are waiting to unleash creativity. Often times, this creativity is held back by the teacher. Saying, “Yes,” builds an environment of trust, learning, and allows students to show what they know in multiple ways. Plus, I don’t want to grade 120 of the same product over and over again! Does all of this seem messy and chaotic? Sure! But, that’s the beauty of it all. Factory models and standardization do not create success in school. Choice creates learning and trust, and this should come first!

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