Think back to when you were in school.
Picture the most
disengaged student in your class.
What is this person doing/not doing?
Me – in grade 2
Remembering back….way back
…..what did you like to build/design when you were younger?
…..what kind of play did you engage in when you were younger?
….how would you describe your best learning experiences?
……how would you describe your worst learning experiences?
….what motivated you to learn?
Me – in grade 6
Engaging Adolescent Male Students in the
Middle Years Classrooms of the 21st Century
Used with permission, Clive School
WinWin Program, 2002
•I was a middle years student (grade 6-8)
•I was a middle years teachers (grades 6-9)
•Father of two boys who experienced
challenges/opportunities in the middle years
•Administrator of K-9 schools who designed “WinWin”
Program for unsuccessful students (mainly boys)
•Administrators Book Study Group: “Boys and Girls
•AISI Coordinator (Strategic Instructional Design to
•Coordinator/Instructor for UofA Middle Years
Education Degree at Red Deer College
•Chairperson of Education
•And now a doctoral student
“’At risk’ students are those who leave school before or after
graduation with little possibility of continuing learning”
Retrieved from “What did you
do in school today?”, Canadian
Education Association, 2009
Grade 9 -12 students
What happens here?
What happens here?
• Current Canadian research on student education states that students
start to become “intellectually disengaged” in the middle years of their
education (What did you do in school today. 2009).
• Intellectual engagement: “A serious emotional and cognitive investment
in learning, using higher-order thinking skills
(creating, analysis, evaluation) to increase understanding, solve complex
problems or construct new knowledge” (What did you do in school today, p.
Turn & Talk at Tables
1. Why do students start to become
disengaged starting in the middle years
grades? (Grade 5, 6, 7)
2.What leads disengaged students to drop
out of high school?
3.How do we re-engage those students who
were disengaged learners in high school?
Me – in grade 4
Learner Centeredness does not just take place in Kindergarten Classes;
It is mindset as to how we approach teaching and learning for ALL LEARNERS
What could RDC do to increase student satisfaction?
•Develop a learning-centered ethos
•Focus on engaged learning
•Focus on developing a sense of community
1. I will build a greater understanding as to
what it means to be a “learner-centered”
2. I will construct my own evidence as to
how to engage and empower learners
through research-proven instructional
3. I will design a plan as to how to provide
learning opportunities for my students
that allows them to build, design and
construct evidence of their learning.
What ideas do you
have to build/assess
21ST CENTURY SKILLS
in your curriculum?
How will you design
“TEAMS”, “SIDES” and
How will you give your
students VOICE and
CHOICE in their learning?
Chairperson, Bachelor of Education Program
Red Deer College | 100 College Boulevard |
Red Deer | AB | T4N 5H5
work 403.357-3634 |
A few “personal” caveats about
It is not about lowering expectations for students
It is not about eliminating all learning tasks that students dislike
doing (e.g. exams)
It is not about less accountability for students
It is not about being accessible to students 24/7
It is not “necessarily” about the instructor working harder than the
It is not about viewing curriculum in the same way that we have
done in the past
…..but it is about being responsive to the learners’ needs, involving
them in course/classroom decisions, using research-proven
practices to design powerful learning experiences, and making
decisions that are made in the bests interests of our students.
Curriculum in the 21st Century
“What is old becomes new again”
Instructional Design in the 21st Century:
What would John Dewey think?
Curriculum in the 20th Century
The Old Model
Social, Cultural, G
Curriculum in the 21st Century
The New Model
Are you ready…..for change?
Are you ready…..to change?
An Old and Familiar Tune
Or a A New Song
Which song are you singing?
Is it time to change our tune? If so, why?
Learner-Centered education is NOTa new concept
3Rs x 7Cs = 21st Century Skills
Creativity and Innovation
Collaboration/Teamwork and Leadership
Career and Learning Self-Reliance
**(Trilling & Fadel, 21st Century Skills)
The Future, You and Your Students
What kind of curriculum experience will
Will your curriculum address the
issues, problems and critical themes of
Will your curriculum plan
inspire, motivate, and engage students?
Will your curriculum allow for
Will your curriculum meet the needs of
the 21st century learner?
Will your curriculum demonstrate
creativity and innovation in teaching and
What is engaged learning?
Not sure? Just ask the students?
20 Instructional Strategies To Engage the Learner
Writing and Reflection
Humor and Celebration
Music, Rhythm, Rhyme & Rap
Problem Based Learning
Summarizing and Note-making
Drawing and Artwork
By Marcia Tate
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1990) uses the word “flow” to
describe learning activities that “have as their primary function the
provision of enjoyable experiences” (p. 72). When one is in the “flow zone”,
a student’s skill level is matched with the level of challenge in the activity,
so that a student experiences positive emotions rather than those such as
anxiety or boredom, and becomes “fully invested” in the activity.
Project-based Learning Inquiry Learning
Problem-based Learning Community Service Learning
Self-directed Learning Context-based Learning
Constructivism requires us to give up control and
share it with the students
Student New Model
What is role of my students? What is my role as instructor?
Which instructional strategies will help my students
direct/control their own meanings and their own learning?
How will I assess this “constructed learning”
(tests, projects, service learning, presentations, final exams)
How else can I give control/ownership to students in my
courses? How can I empower them? How can I capture their
What are the challenges in giving up control?
How am I a “Learner-Centered” instructor?
How am I NOT a “Learner-Centered” instructor?
Are we teachers?
Determining the learning destination
Creating questions that foster inquiry
Designing units, backwards
Determining assessment evidence
Recognizing the benefits of performance criteria
or are we designers?
Architects of instruction?
Facilitators of learning?
…..our curriculum topics were centered around a big problem that
needed to be solved through collaboration and inquiry?
…..we replaced course disciplines with “problems/themes/issues”?
….we assessed students based on projects that they created vs. tests
created by others?
……we had more student learning take place outside of the college
classroom (e.g. workplace, online)?
….our students created their own evidence of learning that was used to
make a difference in the real world?
21st Century Skills by Bernie Trilling & Charles Fader
Better Learning Through Structured Teaching by Douglas
Fisher & Nancy Frey
Beyond Monet by Barrie Bennett & Carol Rolheiser
Classroom Instruction That Works by Robert
Marzano, Debra Pickering, and Jane Pollock
Never Work Harder Than Your Students by Robyn Jackson
Sit and Get Won’t Grow Dendrites: Professional Learning
Strategies to Engage the Adult Brain by Marcia Tate
The Strategic Teacher by Harvey Silver, Richard Strong, &