Next Steps...

Post 1.0 plans will bring about several new learning opportunities. The context/voice pilot study at the high school will provide a window into the minds and hearts of today’s students. The goal is to offer students a safe medium in which they can share their voice, beliefs, values, interests, and goals with their teachers. It is my hope their voices will be heard, eyes will become open to these learners’ needs, thus supporting a stronger relationship and connection between teachers’ perception and students’ disposition towards learning experiences. Depending on the outcomes of these initial steps, perhaps there will be interest to take these findings to the next level to integrate this knowledge and practices into student-centered classrooms. Once I have completed my M.Ed. in June, I look forward to a potential collaborative relationship with National-Louis University’s Center for Practitioner Research to offer professional development student engagement workshops. In addition, I will continue to refine and deliver intensive workshops on creating meaningful and sustainable social change with & for the design community, etc.

Creating sustainable social change is a challenging and sometimes disconcerting endeavor. We live in a progression of patterns, actions, and behaviors based on our evolving needs. Within the disciplines of education, the desire to change is becoming greater than the need to maintain status quo. The needs of today’s learners are causing teachers to reflect, acquire new skills, and develop curriculum through a student-centered framework. The goal is to adopt new orientations to design a process where teaching and learning purposefully intersect. Teachers acting as facilitators can empower students to take responsibility for problem solving whatever obstacles may exist in achieving desired learning outcomes. Students will actively want to track and respond to ongoing feedback throughout their learning process. Below are questions 4 and 5 for the 2.0 version of this Literature Review.

4.  How can student perceptions be used to help design learning activities? 

Using student-centered instructional practices, such as considering a learner’s perception, offering relevant connections to curriculum content, student interaction, and student-centered accountability, can offer key insights when teachers select learning activities and assess student growth for learning. If students are motivated and engaged in their learning process, they are more likely to want to learn what they need to know, perform tasks they need to be able to do, and transfer their understandings into new situations. 

5.  How might student-centered instructional and accountability practices impact learning outcomes? 

To successfully guide today’s students to become motivated to produce meaningful learning outcomes, it is critical for educators to be mindful of students’ perceptions of levels of engagement and encourage learners to become responsible for tracking their own learning progress. To be prepared and effectively compete for jobs in a global economy, students will be expected to be well versed in creativity, innovation, abstract thinking, self-discipline, and organization to see work to completion, and the ability to function well as a member of a team. (Millen, Greenleaf, Wells-Papanek, & Orvis, 2007).

Looking ahead ten years from now, I will know I have succeeded in my action research learning experiences, if students are actively conversing with their teachers about what learning activities they consider to be engaging. Teachers will be more conscious of when they use a strategy, and what and why caused their students to become engaged from their point of view. As a whole, teachers will consider how their students process their work and will actively wonder how to engage them in the curriculum to improve and sustain student achievement outcomes. This is a substantial departure from trial and error – the underlying motivator of this research.