Transparency is a key component of a learner-centered classroom. Being completely clear and open about what students are learning, what they have to do to show they have learned it, and where they are in their learning gives them the map and builds the capacity to direct their own learning.
These are questions I use to reflect on and build transparency of learning in a classroom:
Teachers and students should all be able to answer these questions in a learner-centered environment. There is no one way to address any of these questions, and teachers will do it differently depending on their style and personality. There are some common characteristics of all transparent classrooms, however. First, there is a good amount of visual evidence addressing these questions. Targets are posted, tasks are labeled, success criteria are provided, and students track their progress. Second, teachers refer to these questions and answer them, both directly and indirectly, frequently. At the start of class the teacher states the current target or topic. They connect it back to prior learning, quickly. These teachers refer to the visual evidence and supports regularly. In this post for CompetencyWorks I talk about different ways to be transparent and start to support students in using the map, once they have it. What other ways can we answer these questions?
Courtney is the Instructional Coach for KIDS RSU #2 in Maine. She also hosts a podcast about personalized learning, and is available for independent consulting work.
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