The article I have chosen is 4 Principles of Student Centered Learning.
The only way that I can get my head around this article and what it says is to explore each section as it relates to my own teaching. For some points, I am so there already, however for others, I have more questions than I do answers at this point. The four principles of student-centered learning are space, place, choice and voice, however, due to the length requirements I have chosen to discuss only one of the principles of student-centered learning.
In terms of space, I do my best to create a physical environment that encourages creatively. I also ensure that it is moveable and dynamic, changing to our needs from moment to moment. My space is less mobile than it could be, however this is very much due to the population I teach (most often). This group of learners do not have access to technology regularly – even smartphones are not the norm in the class. Therefore, even having them reach out to me via email can be a barrier for students. In terms of emotional safety, this is always a challenge for me. Our topics can be triggered and I teach a very vulnerable group of individuals. We work very hard to create safe spaces for all, however, it is common for an individual to become triggered and we have to react to that immediately. I find this can be an ongoing battle as an instructor – one that is fluid, based on the topic of the day. The same can be said for cognitively agitating spaces – I have to balance between pushing the students and not overwhelming them as many are living with complex needs and life events.
All of that said, my question for this principle are based on teaching vulnerable/at risk populations. When you have a group of learners who cannot access technology readily, how do you integrate technology? In our learning space, we only have 3 laptops that the students have to share. I do have web-quest assignments, and inevitably, they come in late, or students have trouble “sharing”the computers or others just do not submit it at all. As well, a lot of my learners have very little experience with technology and the Internet. There is no time in the program for me to teach the basics of technology. And I find by creating very technological assignments, this creates a massive barrier to learning, as the students are overwhelmed and are ready to quit before they have even begun.