← Conversations

Tired of teaching to the middle? Transition to a self-paced, mastery classroom and meet everyone’s needs

Session 3
Kristen Brown — NYC iSchool, MfA Master Teacher

What if it was possible for every student to learn at his or her own pace? What if it was possible to make sure that every student mastered the content that you were trying to teach? What if it was possible to tailor lessons to individual students? We often talk about inclusive classrooms and differentiation, but our ability to meet each student’s needs in a teacher-centered classroom is often hindered by time or the feeling that we are holding other students back if we try to review concepts that some students haven’t mastered yet. I want to have a conversation about how I changed my conventional, mostly teacher-centered classroom into a completely self-paced, student-centered mastery class and how I discovered that I could truly differentiate for each individual student without impeding the progress of others. I will discuss how I comb through the standards in the NYS Living Environment curriculum and turn them into student friendly learning targets that are easily measurable, how I create assessments, and how I use Google Classroom to share resources and learning opportunities with my students. I also want to show how students take ownership of their learning. Finally, I hope to generate a discussion about how to push them even farther in their self-awareness and in their ability to reflect on their learning.

Conversational Practice

After a whole group discussion, educators will break off into groups based on their familiarity with and readiness for a mastery-based classroom. Teachers will join a Google group where they can share how they plan to incorporate mastery in their classrooms, post resources, and ask questions. Teachers will leave the session having completed one or more of the following tasks: writing student-friendly aims, designing assessments, developing a system that gives students multiple choices to show mastery, or creating a plan to completely shift to a self-paced, mastery classroom.

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