MERN Forum Presentation id=614
MERN Forum # 40
Session: 2A
Author: Barry Dyck
Affiliation: Hanover School Division
Title : Creating space for learners
Description : In this session, I will share the results of my thesis, “The possibilities of transforming learning: a practitioner research study of a pilot alternative learning program” (2013) and my reflections on developing a flexible learning environment for senior high students in a small, rural school. Drawing from pedagogy of care, a constructivist model of learning and a student-centered approach to learning, the students and I negotiated new curriculum, combining regular classroom courses with courses constructed by their own learning interests. In this case study, a rhizomatic analysis of student and practitioner data, collected both during and after students’ graduation from high school, showed that students were highly engaged with learning when guided by their personal interests. In the study, I also found, however, that students struggled to fully embrace the potential of their own interests, held back by the ambiguity of self study and the clear metrics of the regular school system to which they were accustomed. As practitioner, I struggled to meet the demands of the prescribed curriculum and those of the curriculum that constantly evolved and changed according to students’ interests. The study also speaks to the tensions in defining the role of a teacher in this alternative learning environment.
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