Teaching Learning Continuum

Teaching students to become autonomous

The "Lifelong Learner"

I am writing this letter today to inform you of a teaching strategy called the TLC, Teaching and Learning Continuum, that I plan on implementing in my classroom. I am hoping to build your student up to becoming a “lifelong learner”. I feel that when students take responsibility for their learning, they can take control of what they are learning. I know this may sound like a fallacy, but students who are able to do this find more relevance in the material they are learning, have more motivation to learn the material, and show greater gains in achievement.

Student Autonomy?

Another fact about the TLC, when it is practiced in the classroom is that students will progress at a different pace, at varied times, and then move up and down the continuum depending on the new skill or content that is introduced. The autonomy that the students develop will give them self-confidence, give them a deeper curiosity to further their research, and increase their critical reasoning skills, problem-solving strategies, and their ability to create better ideas.

Steps to develop autonomy

The first step in creating autonomous students is by the teacher being a role model with a teacher led lesson. By doing this, your child is taking in information and responding to this information. On our Unit 4 activities, we are learning or “taking in” information about Benjamin Franklin. We are filling out a graphic organizer by taking notes about the information we read, which consists of articles, textbook reading, short novels, and watching informative videos. In the first box of our graphic organizer, students took notes, we discussed the goals of what information we were looking for, students gave responses and I filled out the graphic organizer. As I was doing this, I was thinking out loud, so the students would understand the thought process I used. Most students copied what I wrote, however they also had to add any other information that they felt was relevant to Benjamin Franklin’s life based on the notes they wrote.

Step Two

The next step in the TLC is where I will guide the student by structuring the next section of the graphic organizer. The students will listen to information, then add notes to their journal. With these notes they will make a decision about the important information to include. Then they will be asked to reflect on what they wrote by sharing their information with a partner. When they are finished with sharing, I will have them rethink what they wrote and either add or eliminate any information that is needed or not needed. Lastly, the students will need to provide evidence or explain their information with details from the varied media used in their notes.

Step Three

As I gradually give the students more responsibility, the third phase of the TLC continuum allows me to act as a coach. As they receive more information about Benjamin Franklin, they will continue to fill out the graphic organizer independently with the varied media they are reading. They will ask themselves if the information is relevant enough to include, is there enough textual evidence to back up their knowledge, and do they have enough information on their graphic organizer? I will conference with students as they are evaluating the information they wrote, while offering feedback. This allows them opportunities to fine tune what they want to write.

Can they do it?

The last and final phase of this TLC for your student is allowing them to think of what they want to learn more about from Benjamin Franklin’s life. This allows them to tap into their own interests. Ben Franklin was an entrepreneur, athlete, printer, writer, philanthropist, statesman, inventor, etc… The many interests he had would definitely pique a child’s interest in learning more about a certain area of his life. They will come up with their own project/report about Benjamin Franklin, create a timeline to accomplish their learning plan, have progress checks along the way in the development of their project/report and then present their final product to the class. I am acting as an advisor ensuring that the plan they come up with is being followed through and they are using their time wisely in class.

Instill confidence and creativity

In using this TLC model in the classroom, I want to instill confidence in your child, give them opportunities to create their own products, and spark innovative learning. I feel I can have a more expansive skill set and focus more on meeting the needs of each student with this style of teaching. I appreciate your support and would appreciate any feedback.