When we ask kids to read Chapter 3, we’re telling them what to know.
When we fill our boards with objectives that say “You will learn ____,” we’re explaining to them the very basis for the lesson we are delivering.
When we give out a packet of worksheets that have fill in the blank answers, multiple choice, and matching, we’re telling kids to choose answers from our choices.
When we ask kids to spend days and weeks in silent classrooms answering test questions, we’re telling them that knowing stuff is more important than their voice.
But when we ask kids to design?
Their ideas. Their voices. Their struggles. Their trials and errors. Their thinking. Their creativity. We remove ourselves from the equation in a way that lets students know that we believe in them.
We put their voice first and we step out of the way at just the right time. We let them be the designers of their own learning.
I’m not saying it’s always easy as a teacher to do that. I’m just saying than when I think about the very best days I’ve had in the classroom, it’s when kids were designing their learning, and I was lucky enough to witness it.