What if Students Controlled Their Own Learning?

Kira Koop

ET = Educational Theory and Practice
CA = Curriculum Assessment
CO = Collaboration
AND

IL = Information Literacy and 21st Century Skills

Hutton, P. (2014). What if students controlled their own learning? | Peter Hutton | TEDxMelbourne. [Video] YouTube.com: TEDx Talks.

This resource touches on elements of all four main sections of the course, but mainly resides within the category ET: Educational Theory and Practice. In this video, Peter Hutton describes the situation at his school, TC (for Take Control) in Australia, where the school experience is created by and for the students. Students sit on the panels for hiring teachers, they have input into the curriculum, and they choose their classes. There is no traditional homework assigned, instead, students are required to create a plan each week for 10 hours of “home learning” – whether that’s completing a project begun in class, conducting an experiment at home, or any other idea. The school’s default policy for questions or suggestions from students and parents is “yes”, unless it costs too much, costs too much time, or interferes with another person’s learning.

This is a radical approach to schooling, and it was fascinating to learn about this school’s approach to learning. The idea that students are trusted to know what they wish to learn, after demonstrating a set level of literacy and ability, and are able to choose every single course they participate in (from 120 electives!) is wonderful and mind-boggling. I’m having difficulty imagining this strategy in place at the high school that I graduated from, which was a fairly conservative, religiously-based school. The more I think about it, however, the more I like the idea of empowering students in this way. Each child or teenager at this school must have a very defined idea of their own agency and their own power, which turns the current dynamic of authority-submissive in the classroom on its head. 

2 thoughts on “What if Students Controlled Their Own Learning?

  1. alishadw says:

    Having students be responsible for their own learning is wonderful. This makes students accountable for their own learning. This also will help them to become more self-motivated as well.

    Like

  2. colleenjames31 says:

    The work that is taking place at this school to provide students with a personalized education is just mindblowing. I found myself asking, “How are they doing this?” while at the same time thinking about how amazing it would be to be a teacher or librarian in this environment.

    Like

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