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Five ways to show your students love

By Team ISTE
February 12, 2015
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It's certainly appropriate to decorate classrooms and common areas this month with hearts and flowers. But while February is synonymous with affection, educators know that student-centered learning and teaching is the real heartbeat year round.

So this Valentine's Day, consider sending your students these Hallmark messages:

Love is when the other person's happiness is more important than your own. - H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Wikipedia and Google are crowding out teachers as the sole source of information in today's world, but teachers who can say goodbye to their lecturer status and embrace the crucial role of coach and facilitator are golden. In their book Personalized Learning, Peggy Grant and Dale Basye write, " "Personalized learning is specifically tailored to each student's strengths, needs and interests while ensuring the highest standards possible." " This approach makes the relationship between student and teacher much closer than the power structure of traditional teaching setups.

Attention is a fundamental human need. Students who are secure in the knowledge that the adults in their lives are interested in them don't need to act up, points out Marie Hartwell-Walker, author of Unlocking the Secrets of Self-Esteem.

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies. - Aristotle

When you hand students a learning menu or choice board and ask them to map their directions, you ensure they are more plugged into the experience. Both the teacher and student share a common goal rather than the adult dictating what matters. When high school learning consultant Shelley Wright put this in practice in a classroom, she discovered that synchronization created a totally new experience.

" "I learned to believe in my students. To believe in what really deeply matters to them. And to remove whatever obstacles I can to try to make that happen. More importantly my students learned to believe in themselves," " she shared in a TEDx talk

Where there is love, there is life.  - Mahatma Gandhi

Educators at Pittsfield Middle High School in New Hampshire have discovered a key component of student-based learning lies in letting students earn credit for real-world experiences that back up what they're learning in the classroom. Write and deliver a public service announcement at a local radio station? Shadow a restaurant manager as he closes out the cash register at the end of a shift? It's all part of providing top-notch career prep.

" "Our students will often exceed our expectations of them if we only give them the opportunity," " Wright says. It also allows them to apply the knowledge in ways a test score never will.

After all, in a world where Siri is more than happy to fetch answers for iPhone users, " "I would question whether a student knowing the year Thoreau died is really essential," " Robert Rothman, a senior fellow at the Alliance for Excellent Education in Washington, D.C., told The Hechinger Report.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.  - Lao Tzu

Recent research from the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education shows that student-centered learning means teachers can better monitor student progress and adjust accordingly. " "Students in the study schools exhibited greater gains in achievement than their peers, had higher graduation rates, were better prepared for college, and showed greater persistence in college," " Stanford University professor and SCOPE faculty director Linda Darling-Hammond wrote. " "Student-centered learning proves to be especially beneficial to economically disadvantaged students and students whose parents have not attended college." "

Love doesn't make the world go 'round. It's what makes the ride worthwhile. - Franklin P. Jones

Student-centered learning also gives students a better sense of why sitting in school matters. As Wright puts it, " "Our schools need to be places that set our kids' hearts on fire [so] that they can figure out what they are passionate about. Where we give them opportunities to pursue it, and that we give them a place to make a difference now" "