Losing the Fear of Sharing Control

By Courtney Foster, Section A, 9/10/15


Lesley Roessing, the author of the article, describes her journey before and after realizing the impacts of having too much control on her students had on their learning. She first realizes this when a student has trouble comprehending the assigned readings. Roessing was shocked that a student had trouble reading! She didn't believe her job was to teach reading, but rather how to appreciate literature. There she further investigated her students to see if they had the same problems. At the end of her exploration, Roessing knew she had to change her philosophy of teaching. After all, she didn't like it when someone told her what she could read and when to read a piece. This is when she decided to lose control and share it with her students through reading workshops. By the end of the year, her students' attitudes towards reading had improved drastically.

Main Points Taken Away




My Opinion of the Article

I loved this article! The author helped me to reevaluate some of my unconscious thoughts about being a teacher. For example, I feel like unless I have control of everything my

students are doing, all chaos will break loose. However, just like myself, students thrive

when they are given options to choose from in any subject. Not only this, but they are

human being too, and deserve the opportunity to make decisions on their learning. Even further, by sharing the control with students, they are able to self-assess and self-monitor more effectively, so the teacher does not have to do so for every student.

I especially loved how the author discussed her process of sharing control with her students. She first reflected on her teaching to determine where her instruction was flawed. Then she evaluated her students to figure out what support they needed and taught them the strategies they needed in order to be successful learners. Last, she communicated with students to see what was and was not working for them and then guided them to a solution. In summary, she became a facilitator rather than a “dictator.” Thanks to Lesley Roessing’s honesty throughout her article, I want to be extra sensitive about how much control I have over my students.

Important Questions

1) What are some negative characteristics of shared control? What are some positive characteristics not mentioned?

2) In what other ways do you think you can share control in your classroom (besides reading workshops)?

3) What is your biggest fear of sharing control in your classroom?


Roessing, L. (2007). Losing the Fear of Sharing Control: Starting a Reading Workshop. MIddle School Journal, 3, 44-51.