Introduction to Leaders of Their Own Learning with Ron Berger
Ron Berger gives and introduction to the book Leaders of Their Own Learning.
- The most important assessment that happens in every school is not the high stakes yearly state test, and it’s not the district interim assessment. It is the assessment that happens everyday, all day long inside student minds. Students sit in classes and they look at their work, and they consider, they assess that work. They consider is it good enough to turn in. Is this my best work? They sit in class and they think, they assess their own understanding. Am I understanding these concepts well enough? And they assess their own behavior. Am I responsible enough, respectful enough? Am I kind enough to others? That level of assessment, the assessment going on in student minds, is the most important assessment that’s happening in a building. And that’s the level of assessment that we need to tune up. If we hope to improve learning. We need to shift our vision of assessment from something that’s being done to students, to something that students own themselves, that they take responsibility for. The book Leaders of Their Own Learning is an attempt on our part to share with you the best strategies we’ve found in our 150 schools across the country. Who have been high achieving schools because students have taken on that ownership of their own learning and continually assessed themselves in many ways. We offer eight related practices that all work together to shift focus of learning from the school being, doing things to students, to students owning their own vision of learning. Where they have a sense of where they’re trying to get to, where they are now and what the next steps are to bring them closer to that goal. The most important thing for you to think about with these eight practices, is that you own them yourselves. If these practices are seen as mandates by your teachers or by your students, as something that they just have to do, then they’re not something they will own as a practice and dig into deeply. So we hope that this will be the beginning of a journey for you when you try out these practices. They’re not a magic bullet, they’re not a quick answer. There are no quick answers in education. They are something that you use as part of your toolbox as an educator to use your own craft and bring them into your own practice. You can take these practices and keep improving them year after year. And the schools that are using these best, have improved their own use of these practices by making them their own, by slowing down their work, giving teachers time to try things out, fail at things, improve them themselves, discuss them and get better. And for students to stop that treadmill of coverage of material, to figure out themselves, where am I trying to get to? How close am I? What are my next steps? So we hope that you will slow down your work, in order to deepen it. And that you can see these practices working for you to help students take on that responsibility and become leaders of their own learning.