Students at the Center
Teaching and Learning in the Era of the Common Core
Students at the Center synthesizes and adapts for practice current research on key components of student-centered approaches to learning. Our goal is to strengthen the ability of practitioners and policymakers to engage each student in acquiring the skills, knowledge, and expertise needed for success in college and a career. The project will be publishing a book in spring 2013: Anytime, Anywhere: Student Centered Learning for Schools and Teachers.
As the country focused much of its attention to implementation of the Common Core State Standards, this project is an urgent reminder that higher expectations can only be met with attention to fundamental issues of how students learn, what they need to learn, and how best to teach them.
Despite growing interest in student-centered approaches to learning, educators have few places to which they can turn for a comprehensive accounting of the key components of this emerging field. With funding from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Jobs for the Future launched the project by commissioning nine noted research teams to synthesize existing research in order to build the knowledge base for student-centered approaches to learning and make the findings more widely available.
Students at the Center continues to disseminate the papers and the executive summary collection widely through conferences, social and mainstream media, professional development, and education associations. In addition to the papers themselves, the team is developing--in consultation with educators--a collection of tools and resources to help make the papers come alive and be more applicable to those wishing to implement more student-centered approaches in the classroom, school, district, or beyond.
Following are the titles of the papers published in the Students at the Center series:
Mind, Brain, and Education
Recent brain and cognitive science research makes it possible to study the learning brain in action and track the development of learning pathways. This paper considers student-centered approaches in light of this research. (By Christina Hinton, Kurt Fischer, and Catherine Glennon)
Motivation, Engagement, and Student Voice
This synthesis of research on achievement motivation, school engagement, and student voice concludes that motivation and engagement are likely to be higher when educators use student-centered approaches. (By Eric Toshalis and Michael Nakkula)
APPLYING STUDENT-CENTERED APPROACHES
Teachers at Work - Six Exemplars of Everyday Practice
Taking the reader inside six high schools widely regarded as exemplars of deep student learning, the authors unpack teaching practices and school structures at the heart of student-centered learning. (By Barbara Cervone and Kathleen Cushman)
Literacy Practices for African-American Male Adolescents
Providing a socio-historical perspective on African-American literacy, this paper discusses student-centered learning in the context of race and gender and proposes an improved approach to literacy instruction for African-American males. (By Alfred W. Tatum)
Latino/a and Black Students and Mathematics
Using new perspectives on mathematics as a cultural and social activity and research on learning outside of school, this paper provides student-centered approaches for reducing the mathematics "achievement gap." (By Rochelle Gutierrez and Sonya Irving)
Curricular Opportunities in the Digital Age
This paper explores how new technologies can be used to design curricula that can be readily adapted to individual differences, providing a foundation for student-centered, rather than curriculum-centered, approaches to teaching and learning. (By David Rose and Jenna Gravel)
SCALING UP STUDENT-CENTERED APPROACHES TO LEARNING
Personalization in Schools
This paper examines the connections between strong adult-youth relationships in school and increased student engagement and academic performance, particularly for low-income and underserved students. (By Susan Yonezawa, Larry McClure, and Makeba Jones)
Ideally, schools would implement a balanced system of formative, interim, and summative assessments that together inform learning, instruction, decision making, and policy. This paper unpacks the components of such a system. (By Heidi Andrade, Kristen Huff, and Georgia Brooke)
Changing School District Practices
If student-centered learning approaches are to improve student achievement, school districts will need to reorganize in support of this result. This paper reviews current district practices and explores strategies for supporting more student-centered approaches. (By Ben Levin, Amanda Datnow, and Nathalie Carrier)
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