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Module 6 – Learner Centered Instruction August 5, 2013

Filed under: Standard 4. Pedagogy — lktaylor @ 10:37 pm
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Our focus during module 6 is on learner centered instructional approaches. Dr. William’s screencast noted that learner centered classrooms address the learning needs of the whole child and are developmentally appropriate (Williams, 2013). Students are encouraged to play a role in choosing the curriculum that is of interest to them.

Carl Rogers found that classrooms that were led by teachers who were encouraging, respectful, and valued student ideas and thinking were more likely to have fewer disruptions than classrooms that were weak in these areas (Rogers, 1983). Learner centered classrooms – or, as Carl Rogers terms it “person-centered” classrooms – reflect what Rogers concludes from his studies: that “positive human relations are related to positive human behaviors.”

Ronald Ferguson likens such positive teacher-student relations to a leg on an “instructional tripod”. Effective student learning depends upon 3 critical components: course content, pedagogy, and relationships. (McAdoo, 2011) Each instructional “leg” carries equal significance when educating the whole child.

Learning centers are one instructional approach that can be supportive of a learner centered philosophy. Learning centers are more commonly used in the primary grades and allow students to choose from an array of learning experiences that are of interest to them.  At the same time, teachers can observe students in order to get familiar with their individual learning styles, maturity, and academic levels. Learning centers are thought to naturally foster a respectful classroom environment. (Williams, 2013).

This particular module has caused me to look critically at my own practice of learning centers in my classroom. Often, I will set up centers in order to give students relevant learning experiences while I work with small groups in reading. Students rotate through a set of centers over a period of a week and are responsible for a specific set of tasks at each station. This practice has been effective in that students are independently engaged in meaningful activities while I have an opportunity to work with small groups. However, I realize that this system does not give students the opportunity to choose their centers and I have not been using this time to observe students and gather data regarding their individual learning needs. I plan to revise my learning center protocol to include student choice as well as time for me to observe and record student behaviors that will inform my instructional planning.


Dell’Olio, J. M., Donk, T. (2007). Models of Teaching. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

McAdoo, M. (2011). Inside the mystery of good teaching. In Education Oasis. Retrieved August 5, 2013, from http://www.educationoasis.com/resources/Articles/mystery.htm

Rogers, C. (1983). Freedom to Learn

Williams, T. (2013, July). Learner centered models and multiple intelligences. Survey of instructional strategies. Lecture conducted from Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA


Tracking Student Learning in Reading November 20, 2012

Filed under: Standard 5. Assessment — lktaylor @ 4:40 am
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There were several gems in module 8 that will be very useful as I revamp my record keeping and how I track student learning. One point Chappuis, Stiggins, Chappuis and Arter (2012, pp. 302-303) made clear was how beneficial it is to students when they have the opportunity to track their own learning. Being involved in this way keeps students in touch with their own progress and provides motivation to learn.

I believe that I can readily apply this strategy to our reading program. Students take home a reading log and a book from the classroom daily and are responsible for reading for 15 minutes each night at home (or be read to). Students are placed in reading groups that correlate with a particular book level that is represented by a color. Students bring “just right” books home for daily practice in a folder that includes a reading log. Students are to document the title of the book they have read, record three interesting words they found, and have parents sign the log. It seems to me that this would be the ideal place for students to keep and maintain a chart that documents their progression through the reading levels.  I also use a Reading Log Tracking Sheet to keep track of student reading levels as well as how regularly they read at home and return their daily reading folders.

One of the benefits I have found with the Reading Log Tracking Sheet is it allows me to see current student reading levels as well as patterns of responsibility with reading homework all in one location. I am aware that Chappuis, et al. state that work habits should be tracked separately from academic achievement levels so as to avoid raising and lowering grades in response to a range of learning problems (2012, p 314). I am comfortable with recording the reading folders in this way because the regularity with which they read and bring back their logs will not affect their reading grades. It will just serve as a discussion point.

Chappuis, et al. also recommend that educators plan for assessment events that will be used formatively during learning. Such events can be practice work, evidence collected to be used for grouping purposes, work turned in for feedback, and evidence students use for self-assessment (2012, p. 299-300). While conducting reading group instruction I gather formative data and record it on a Guided Reading Recording Sheet that is specifically designed for a particular reading level. It includes a list of reading learning targets that can be checked off when they are observed on a regular basis.  Once a student has each target checked off, they are ready to take a summative reading test that confirms (or does not confirm) readiness to move on and the reading groups are changed accordingly.

Chappuis, J., Stiggins, R., Chappuis, S. & Arter, J. (2012) Classroom assessment: Every student a learner. Classroom assessment for student learning: Doing it right-Using it well (pp. 1-18). Boston, MA: Pearson.


Getting Up To Date… October 25, 2009

Filed under: Standard 7. Collaboration,Uncategorized — lktaylor @ 9:24 pm
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One of the main motivations I have for completing my masters in Curriculum and Instruction at SPU is to bring myself up to date on the current research on effective teaching and learning in education today. I graduated with my undergraduate degree quite a few years ago, however I waited about 15 years post graduation before I actually persued and acquired a teaching position. That was in 2000 and I have been happily immersed in teaching ever since. I am facinated by all that has been going on in the field of education over the years and am eager to collaborate with like minded educators.  I look forward to applying all that I learn in the C&I program to my own classroom.