July 2, 2013

Dalton stimulates the ownership of learning

A pupil who takes ownership of their learning becomes a driving force in their own education. They direct their learning, and they take it upon themselves to work hard when necessary. They assume responsibility for their own assignment without needing to be persuaded to do so. Within the Dalton education we are convinced that this is an extremely valuable quality to learn early in life.
When we help pupils to develop awareness about their own thinking and learning processes, we are helping them to think about the effectiveness of the strategies they use in reaching the goals they have set.

Some important aspects to stimulate the feeling of ownership:
• Allow failure.
• Make the assignments manageable.
• Organize regularly evaluation and stimulate reflection.
• Give your pupils positive attention.
• Stimulate only personal competition and not group competition.
• Reinforce required strategies.
• Use role models.

In coaching this process we have two main goals: enquire and encourage.
Start with asking questions:
• What achievements does the pupil take pride in?
• Where do they have space for improvement?
• What does success mean to them?
• What is their most challenging assignment?
• What would be their ideal level?
• What would it take to achieve a particular goal?

By being their own boss, pupils get excited about their plan and work hard at achieving their goals. An educational coach helps to keep them on track, and is there to suggest solutions. Through regular meetings coaches provide students with the opportunity to evaluate and reflect the progress they have made on their goals, and devise new strategies for success.
Self-assessment and reflection against learning goals allow pupils to take ownership of their learning, in partnership with their teacher. Pupils are working towards becoming self-managing and self-regulated.

Dalton teachers are working with this strategy from the Kindergarten period upwards, and the expectation and experience is that all pupils have the capacity to take ownership of their learning.
A key point is that these skills have to be taught by all teachers in the school in a continuous process.

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