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Cultivating the Learner-Centered Classroom
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Cultivating the Learner-Centered Classroom
From Theory to Practice



December 2007 | 216 pages | Corwin
Cultivating the Learner-Centered Classroom, a progressively-oriented guide for teaching, provides teachers with concrete strategies for making a fundamental shift in educational thought and in practice: from behaviorism to constructivism, from control to cooperation, from following recipes to understanding the learning process, from meeting standards to individualizing expectations and instruction, and from coercing students' obedience to facilitating their authority and autonomy. The authors offer practical procedures and strategies that are aligned with progressive educational thought, and bridge theory and practice concerning the following aspects of teaching:

1) facilitating community development in the classroom

2) facilitating community development with parents

3) classroom organization

4) observing and assessing student growth 5) planning instruction

6) individual, small group, and whole group instruction

7) evaluating and reporting student growth


 
Preface
Time to Learn

 
Fighting for Hope

 
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
Introduction: Progressivism and Traditionalism—A Continuum of Educational Thought
 
1. Facilitating Community Development in the Classroom
The Teacher’s Essential Attributes: Confidence and Humility, Compassion and Faith

 
The Basis of the Teacher-Student Relationship: Motivation or Coercion?

 
Who Decides Who Belongs? A Note on Inclusive Education

 
From Theory to Practice: Strategies for Facilitating Relationship and Community

 
 
2. Classroom Organization
Finding You in Your Classroom

 
From Theory to Practice: Strategies for Organizing a Learner-Centered Classroom

 
 
3. Observing and Assessing What Students Know and Can Do
Understanding Terminology

 
Assumption #1: You Can’t Teach Someone You Don’t Know

 
Assumption #2: You Will Assess What You Value

 
Assumption #3: You Will Never Finish Learning How to Assess Students’ Knowledge

 
From Theory to Practice: Strategies for Assessing What Students Know and Can Do

 
 
4. Planning Instruction
From Theory to Practice: Strategies for Planning Instruction

 
 
5. Evaluating and Reporting Student Growth
Common Assumptions About Grades

 
A Brief History of Grading

 
Evaluation as Grading: Critiquing Traditional Purposes of Letter Grades

 
Learner-Centered Evaluation: Reframing the Purpose of Grading

 
From Theory to Practice: Strategies for Evaluating and Reporting Student Progress

 
 
6. Facilitating Community Development With Parents
From Theory to Practice: Strategies for Facilitating Community Development With Parents

 
 
7. Holding On: Leading With Heart
On Becoming a “Real” Leader

 
Democratic Faith: The Final, Essential Component of Leadership

 
From Theory to Practice: Strategies for Holding On and Leading With Heart

 
 
References
 
Index

"Acknowledges and nourishes the teacher's ability to help children take control of their lives. This book is both inspirational and practical, helping teachers take charge in their classrooms and guide their students in becoming independent and responsible."

Susan Ohanian, Senior Fellow
Vermont Society for the Study of Education

"Provides a readable, practical how-to manual for educators who truly want to put the needs and hopes of students at the center of their craft. By providing specific examples of strategies for community building, classroom management, lesson design, and working with parents, this book bridges the chasm between theory and the day-to-day realities of teachers and administrators."

Dale Jones, Principal
Nimitz School, Sunnyvale, CA

"This book is an invitation for educators at all levels of instruction to reevaluate what teaching and learning truly mean. In the midst of instructional collaboration with colleagues, both entry-level teachers and veterans will be impacted by the encouragement Tollefson and Osborn offer for building and improving our educational systems."

Kamara Yri, Teacher
Bismarck High School, ND

"Tollefson and Osborn demystify the concept of a 'learner-centered classroom' with their rich, practical examples and time-tested strategies. A true resource for new teachers or those seeking clarity, this guide tackles the many aspects of progressive education in a realistic and straightforward manner."

Beth Huston, Learning Coach
Mission Hill School, Boston, MA

"A superb book that does exactly what it promises: takes the reader from theory to practice. Rich with clear prose, strong research, and thoughtful reflection, this useful tool is for teachers who want to engage students more deeply with each other, the content, and the world—all for the sake of real learning. In our time, when classrooms have become dangerously test-centered, we need books like this if we want to serve children truly and well. So read this book, put it to good use, and join the ranks of teachers who understand that any education that is not learner-centered is no education at all."

Parker J. Palmer
Author, The Courage to Teach

"A very practical approach to actively involving students, teachers, and parents in the learning process. The suggested strategies give students knowledge and a voice in their learning."

Marian Liebowitz, Educational Consultant
Marian Liebowitz Associates

"The learner-centered approach, which is the basis of this excellent book, provides a powerful and vivid vision that impacts students learning in a very positive manner. This book allows you to ponder and remember the great responsibility and wonderful opportunity of motivating each and every student. I strongly recommend this book for K-12 educators, as well as those who are interested and involved in making a positive difference in education."

Gilberto Lobo, Math and Science Teacher
Truman Middle School, Albuquerque, NM

"Tollefson and Osborn have written a truly useful book for preservice and beginning teachers. The authors' attention to the daily experiences of teachers, illuminated by stories from the classroom and embedded in a theoretical rationale and discussion, will be appreciated by professional educators and their students."

Connie Krosney, Professor of Graduate Studies
Union Institute & University

"What could be more important to teaching and learning than a focus on the student, keeping their needs and their development as learners at the center of all we do? The authors have done a masterful job of pulling together the theoretical foundations and best practices from a wealth of sources to articulate a clear and easily understood framework for practitioners. The book is a testament to the difference that hope, commitment, and compassion will make in the classroom, in each of us as professionals, and in the lives of learners."

Jack Walsh, Superintendent
Bristol Bay Borough School District, Naknek, AK

"As someone who is continuously striving to create a learner-centered classroom and share my enthusiasm with other teachers, I am really excited to find a book that so accessibly provides both the reasons and practical strategies for developing a community of learners within the confines of most district requirements. I enjoy sharing its wisdom with new teachers as well as with my more seasoned colleagues."

Judith Barnes, Eighth-Grade Teacher
Cupertino School District, CA
Key features

 

  • Shows teachers how to facilitate the growth of learning communities, both within their classrooms and within their schools
  • Features practical strategies for building students' responsibility for and ownership of their own learning
  • Provides methods for effective lesson and unit planning
  • Offers guidelines and recommendations for developing strong, effective relationships with parents
  • Includes tips and strategies for observing, assessing, evaluating, and reporting student growth

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preface

Introduction


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