Who is Responsible for Learning in the Classroom?

Is it the students, the teachers, even parents, school management? It seems like such a simple question at first, but is actually very thought provoking. This can be seen clearly from this Edutopia piece written by US education consultant, Ben Johnson.

Edutopia Article

The comments and feedback inspired by the short article are also interesting.

My own take on this is that, as educators, we are better off not engaging in this debate beyond a point. I feel it’s better that we say – “I take 100% responsibility for whatever happens in my classroom”. This leads me to question myself and what I’m doing if there’s a student who isn’t learning effectively or if there are classroom management issues. I take the responsibility to inspire every student, to reach out to every student (where they are), to understand students’ issues of motivation, drive and interest in the learning.

This is consistent with the perspective taken in adult training environments where the trainer takes 100% responsibility for the learning experience of all trainees/ course participants. One effect this has, is that when a trainer is working with a group they are continually ‘antenna up’ scanning for body language, comments or any other signals that provide clues about audience motivation (not as a mass, but individually). The best trainers and speakers maintain an innate ability to be flexible and to vary what they’re doing according to this critical feedback from the audience.

To me, this is a fundamental part of the ‘process mastery’ that great teachers are continually aspiring to.


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