Check out the latest online edition of Education Week Teacher, which today published my article, ”5 Ways to Use Student Choice to Improve Learning.” In the piece, I focus on specific ways in which middle school and high school educators can provide more opportunities for students’ decision-making skills to be stimulated so that they are more likely to make good decisions outside of the classroom as well. The 5 strategies I focus on include:
- Letting students make choices about required reading assignments
- Involving students in decisions about school policy
- Providing opportunities for independent study
- Offering more electives
- Using student polling
The areas of the brain that control decision-making are the last to develop in late adolescence and early adulthood and are highly sensitive to environmental influences (a feature of the brain known as ”neuroplasticity”). This article hopes to convince teachers that educating the ”choice muscles” in student’s brain is as important as the content they’re learning in the classroom.
For more information about giving secondary students choices in the classroom, see my book The Power of the Adolescent Brain: Strategies for Middle and High School Teachers (ASCD, 2016).