Becoming Self-Directed Learners: Student & Faculty Memoirs of an Experimenting High School 40 Years Later

Becoming Self-Directed Learners: Student & Faculty Memoirs of an Experimenting High School 40 Years Later


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935766902
Publisher: Windy City Publishers
Publication date: 01/09/2014
Pages: 300
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)

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Becoming Self-Directed Learners: Student & Faculty Memoirs of an Experimenting High School 40 Years Later 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From: Kimberly Immenhausen Kelly, New Trier East class of 1980 This book compiles years of research and exploration into the minds and lives of those who attended what was known as Center for Self-Directed Learning in Winnetka IL it was a school within a school. The “Parent School” as we in the “Center” called it, was part of my high school experience at New Trier East. I was one of the lucky students to be known as a “Centerite”.  “Unstructured Education!” you would hear the students and teachers from the Parent School call it… But for the few of us that were able to enjoy this liberated boundless education from the inside knew differently; we were able to structure our own education to our own strengths and interests, uninhibited by the constraints of the normal curriculum of customary education outlines forced upon students in the “parent school”; we on the other hand were able to choose a subject of interest, rather than have it assigned to us.  Let’s give an example or two of classes you might have taken if you were in the Center, remember computers in the schools were new, if at all available, to students in the late 1970’s; good old fashion books and hands on research was how we learned.  “ECOLOGY AND WINTER TENT CAMPING IN THE “THE GREAT NORTH WOODS” OF WISCONSIN” this was a fall semester course; a group of us came up with; we had to read and learn winter survival techniques and at the end of the semester we put them to use in the North Woods…and yes it did snow on our adventure, we learned to work as a team, we picked up, collected, and recycled litter and cans left from fall campers. Recycling consumer waste in 1978 was new, due to fears that landfill space is running out. Another class was the “HISTORY OF ENGLISH CASTLES AND RUNES”, three young high school girls Virginia (Gina) Madsen, Colleen Wasner and myself studied and then took ourselves on a Spring Break trip to England to visit them in person escorted by Reverend Wasner, Colleens Father, who had business over there. Oh, did we have classrooms in the Center yes, were they what you might expect in a so called “normal” classroom NO, being on the creative side I spent a lot of my time in the Art room studying Art History and Applied Arts when I was not outside enjoying Mother Nature’s Artwork. I learned to love and respect others differences and to work as a community putting a whole mosaic together by piecing together the individual strength of my fellow man. To this day I use the skills I learned in the Center in my life daily life as a micro-small business owner. Rules by the book… Why...who wrote the book??? ...I choose to live outside the box and don’t regret a moment of not fitting the “Should be MOULD” of the “Parent School” and choosing to attend the “Center for Self Directed Learning”. Working with its facilitators (teachers) and other Centerites taught me to reach and believe in my dreams, you might fail along the way but with help from your fellow man and perseverance in the end you can and will succeed at whatever you set your mind too; a good life lesson to take away from high school in my book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From Bob Pearlman: An Inspiration for Today’s Innovators It is a fitting time for the innovative educational practitioners of today to glean the lessons and best practices of self-directed learning from the student and teacher pioneers of the 1970s from New Trier High School’s Center for Self-Directed Learning, thanks to the 50 former students (of 600 graduates in 10 years) and five former teachers whose rich memoirs form this book, Becoming Self-Directed Learners. Those of us who have been involved in the movement for innovative 21st century schools and districts have attempted to develop practices and processes to promote and support self-directed and self-assessing learners. But none of us who developed these schools in the 2000s knew about the Center for Self-Directed Learning. That’s no surprise in education. Often great innovations come along, and either the context is not there to support them, they are ahead of their time, or they are not implemented fully. And then these innovations are forgotten, until they come back 20, 30, 40 years later. The Center, as former teacher and book editor Jim Bellanca writes, “fit its time and was well ahead of its time.” The Center was not a Summerhill or a Sudbury Valley School, free school models well known by the 1970s where students had complete responsibility for their own education. The Center shared some principles with these models, however its practices incorporated a well-defined seven-step process for student work and assessment where students would have to: • Show their proficiencies to make an authentic goal of high personal importance; • Find resources (from one course in the parent school per semester to internships, field studies, small group investigations, a research study or travel); • Identify a facilitator/evaluator from the Center or the external community; • Follow a self-planned weekly schedule; • Produce evidence of learning; • Assess that learning with criteria; and • Show how the specific learning contributed to college, life and/or career goals. It may sound contradictory, but self-direction in education, in my opinion, is best encouraged and implemented when supported by well-defined and common processes, systems, and structures. This was true of the Center and it is true today of the New Tech Network and Big Picture Learning, two innovative school models that prize self-directed learning. Of course the second decade of the 21st century is a much different world than the 1970s. Much has changed—state standards, accountability, and technology. In the 1970s there were no laptops, internet, and smartphones. Today, Alan November in Who Owns the Learning? shows how new digital tools empower and enable students to be productive self-directed learners who author, produce, research, publish, and globally communicate and collaborate. But November rightly shows that this happens best when teachers, like those at the Center for Self-Directed Learning, facilitate, design, and enable self-directed learning experiences. The stories and memoirs of this book reveal how the Center’s students and teachers created and implemented a culture of self-directed learning and self- assessment. They are a treasure trove of lessons and an inspiration for today’s innovators.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This volume transports me back to the days when I worked and learned in a public alternative high school in the 1970s. The pieces by students and staff at the Center for Self-Directed Learning capture the aspirations, the challenges, the paopable spirit of such a place, and the lasting effect on participants.  The questions that led to the Center remain with us today. Why are so many students disengaged? Why, in a transdisciplinary world, do we persist in dividing the content of education into "subjects"? why insist on the same pace and the same content for everyone? Why shut out passion and interest? Why not foster self-directed learning in a community of learners? Some of us have been pursuing these questions in various ways for a long time. Others have just embarded on the journey. All of us, young and old, can draw inspriation from the lessons of the Center as conveyed by the powerful voices in this volume.