What does student-centered learning mean for students? What does it mean for teachers? What is a standard? What does it mean to teach to standards and how does that change the role of a teacher?
These are essential concepts to personalized, competency-based learning, which is why a new video from Grand Mesa Middle School, part of Mesa District 51 in Grand Junction, Colorado, is great. Teacher Amy Deschamp and eighth grader Amethyst Correa offer simple-to-understand explanations of learning at work in their school and demonstrate why their district was recently named one of six K-12 districts to watch in 2019.
For instance, Correa shares that she is studying the preamble of the U.S. Constitution, which includes taking pieces and phrases out of the document, “defining it and trying to figure out what it means.” For Deschamp, this is key towards not only knowing about and understanding the Constitution, but also to being able to understand the role and importance of the Constitution.
Breaking down this topic, which has long been a focus of history, government and civics classes, helps illustrate key concepts. By sharing both student and teacher perspectives, we can understand why student-centered learning is valuable not only for students, but also for teachers.
Student-centered teaching is important because of the skills students need to learn in order to work in jobs that don’t exist right now, said Deschamp, citing social-emotional skills that will be essential for future success. “If I’m doing all of the work, they’re no going to get those skills.”