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Voice & Choice – Not Just For Students

August 4, 2017

The Saline Area Schools Strategic Framework Goals and Learner Compass are a roadmap for all learners, young and not-so-young. One of the key aspects of improving student outcomes in the Saline Area Schools and living the “Student Led – Future Focused” motto is to allow students to have a voice in their own learning and to be able to exercise choice within the instructional framework.It is important that students make real-world connections with their learning.  A one-size-fits-all approach isn’t beneficial for students.  In modeling the student led, future focused model for teachers and staff; it is important for me and our administrative team to know that a one-size-fits-all approach to learning is not beneficial for adult learners, either.

Malcolm Knowles, an American educator, studied adult learners and discovered that adults need:

  • To know “why” they must learn something
  • Need to learn experientially
  • To approach learning as problem-solving
  • Learn best when the topic is of immediate value

Just like students, staff comes to us with a variety of learning needs and preferences.  As leaders, we need to build in the element of choice.  Here are a few plans for the year designed to address the model “Voice & Choice” model with adult learners:

  • Instead of having all teachers attend the same professional learning sessions, we are looking for ways to allow them to choose topics and formats that fit their preferences and needs.  In late August, a symposium with numerous topics and instructional delivery models is planned.
  • Encourage staff to set their own learning goals.  Engage in conversations with staff to understand and support their unique learning goals.
  • Develop and use “micro-credentialing” as model the for adult learning
  • Allow teachers to be innovative and take risks. Further, we hope to instill a quest for curiosity in all staff.  Over the years, I have seen teachers rise to new heights when they learn in authentic ways.  

The start of the new school year is around the corner, and as the excitement for the new year builds, educational leaders are entrusted with the opportunity to show both students and staff that their voice is important in their own learning.


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