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Students as Teaching Resources

Session 1
Anastacia Brie, Grace O'Keeffe — Hudson Highschool of Learning Technologies

Utilizing students in the classroom is not a new idea. Educators understand the impact on motivation and engagement when students have a voice and meaningful responsibility. Unfortunately, initiating and sustaining such student involvement is timely and stressful. What responsibilities do you hand over and how do you monitor the student's achievements? When can you make the students responsible for teaching and in what context? What are the benefits and challenges? These types of questions were raised when we started a program called SIRS, or Students as Integrated ResourceS. The students volunteer and come in after school to participate in a hands on activity. We discuss challenges, understandings, and possible mistakes. When their peers do the same activity in class, these specially trained students act as teachers; answering questions, helping with procedures, monitoring safety, and even engaging the unmotivated individuals. The SIRS have become an integrated and a necessary part of the class, such that recently, a student who raised their hand for help, and saw me coming, said "No, no. I want a SIRS." We would like to share the implementation strategies we used and how we are sustaining the program with other educators. In addition, we would like to extend the conversation to include other classes and subjects. Does the SIRS program have wide-spread application? How can it be adapted to fit teachers and students schedules? How do we measure the success of the SIRS in the data-driven environment of education? What are the barriers to creating meaningful student involvement?

In summary, we would like to create a critical friends group to analyze our best practices for involving students in daily instruction and invite others to analyze their best practices as well.

Conversational Practice

  1. In heterogeneous groups, share an experience of student involvement or student voice or student integration in a classroom that you consider to be the best. Reflect and answer the question: "What made this experience so different from others?"
  2. Develop a common definition of best practice concerning student involvement in a class room. Define it by what it looks like, sounds like, and what is measurable - for a teacher or for a student. Each group creates their own document (chart paper? google document? post-it notes - can be flexible). Use prior experiences that you just shared.
  3. Video of students participating in a SIRS class
  4. Any clarifying questions about the student teaching program from the video?
  5. Analyze what we saw - how does it match our definitions? how is it different? What does it have in common with your personal experiences? what is different? What can we measure? (or even should we "measure" it - but that might be an entirely new conversation.)
  6. From that analysis, any extension questions or insights or adaptations?
  7. Group Work: How can I extend my best practices for student involvement in the classroom - not just engagement, but meaningful participation in the teaching itself? What can I take back to my classroom? School? or even District?
  8. Wrap-up and reflection

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Jon Orech

I can't tell you how much I agree with the premise of your presentation! I have looked at your websites briefly…great stuff. I look forward to meeting you at Educon.If possible, I would like to pick your brain a bit as well. Jon Orech @jorech

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