4ALL: Student-Centered and Self-Directed Projects

When considering today’s post, I went searching through my Google Reader for articles and posts on student-centered instruction. The first result was a post in the New York Times educational blog The Learning Network. I remember reading the post in May and sort of forgot about it just as quickly. I checked it out again this week and thought it was worth sharing.

The post is about an experimental student-directed learning project. I’ll let the accompanying video explain.

There’s also an Op-Ed piece that goes into further detail.

Besides being stirred and inspired by the stories of the students in this video, one can pick out some valuable lessons in making our own classrooms more student-centered. The students featured were allowed to explore their own questions but were held responsible for teaching their classmates about these topics. Plus, allowing time for their own individual projects which were more ambitious than anything they would typically do in school showed that they had desire to learn, to be better students.

A good starting point for creating a project like this (or one with a few personalized adjustments) can be found in the original post cited above. As mentioned on Wednesday’s post, the New York Times is a great resource for lesson plans. The plan that goes along with this story is designed to help teachers facilitate student-directed projects in their own classrooms.

What do you think of the Independent project? How might this approach work in your class? What concessions would you have to make in employing this lesson?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center and wishes he was able to experience the Independent Project when he was in high school.