Encouraging students to own their work

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*The following was written with children in mind but can also be applied to adult learners

Learning changes dramatically when students have opportunities to produce work that matters to them. We know this from our own lives but don’t always do a good job of honoring it in schools. It’s easy for me to recall times when I dragged my feet completing a task, or rushed through a requirement that was imposed on me. And I have memories of skipping meals or staying up too late to work on projects that felt meaningful.

When I examine and reflect on my students’ work, I discover insights and truths about their learning experiences. Some students find ways to create work that represents a deep connection to and exploration of content. Others don’t feel engaged or invested in what they’re doing—and their final products are rushed and superficial.

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