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Learner-Centered Classroom Practices and Assessments


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Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments About the Authors 1. What We Know About Learning How Do You Learn Best? What Does the Evidence Show About Supporting Natural Learning? Teachers and Students as Co-Learners: An Invitation What's Next? 2. What Is Learner Centered From an Evidence-Based Perspective? What Does "Learner Centered" Mean? Seeing the Big Picture: Education as a Complex Living System Domains of Schools as Living Systems The Learner-Centered Model What Are the Learner-Centered Principles? Factors Affecting Learners and Learning What's Next? 3. What Teachers and Students Tell Us About Learner-Centered Practices What Teachers Have Recognized About the LCPs Translating the LCPs Into Practice The LCPs, Testing, and Accountability What Do the LCPs Mean for Teaching and Learning? What the Evidence Shows: Characteristics of Effective Teachers What Students Say Strategies for Honoring Student Voice Forming a Student Union Involving Students in Action Research Projects Students as Meaningful Partners: International Evidence Reflection What's Next? 4. The Learner-Centered Principles: One By One Domain 1: Cognitive and Metacognitive Factors LCP 1: Nature of the Learning Process LCP 2: Goals of the Learning Process LCP 3: Construction of Knowledge LCP 4: Strategic Thinking LCP 5: Thinking About Thinking LCP 6: Context of Learning Domain 2: Motivational and Affective Factors LCP 7: Motivational and Emotional Influences on Learning LCP 8: Intrinsic Motivation to Learn LCP 9: Effects of Motivation on Effort Domain 3: Developmental and Social Factors LCP 10: Developmental Influence on Learning LCP 11: Social Influences on Learning Domain 4: Individual Differences Factors LCP 12: Individual Differences in Learning LCP 13: Learning and Diversity LCP 14: Standards and Assessment Finding Examples of LCPs in Your Own Practices What's Next? 5. Learner-Centered Practices Turning Principles Into Practices Glasser's Six Conditions for Quality Schoolwork Classroom Climate Relevance of Learner-Centered Practices in the Context of Standards and Assessment The Achievement Gap Issue What Students Say About the Achievement Gap Reflection What's Next? 6. Effective Learner-Centered Practices Effective Learner-Centered Practices for Students in K-3 Effective Learner-Centered Practices for Students in Grades 4-12 What Happened to "Classroom Management"? Strategies for Creating Learner-Centered, Resilient Classrooms Insights and Reflections: What Needs to Change in My Classroom? What's Next? 7. What Tools Do I Need to Become Learner Centered? Who's in Charge of My Learning? Who's in Charge of Students' Learning? Implications for Practice Implications for Policy The Learner-Centered Surveys Characteristics of Learner-Centered Tools The Assessment of Learner-Centered Practices (ALCP):Tools for Creating Learner-Centered Classrooms and Departments Research-Validated Definition of "Learner Centered" ALCP Feedback Process for Teachers Understanding Sample ALCP Feedback: Table of Teacher Variables Compared to the Learner-Centered Rubric for One Teacher Becoming a Magnet for Change in My School and District Reassessing My Beliefs What Is My Vision for Schools? My Plan for a Learner-Centered Classroom How Can I Manage Resistance to Change? Obtaining the Necessary Support for Learner-Centered Schools Where Do I Go From Here? Resource A: Teacher Strategy Ideas Resource B: Contacts: Learner-Centered Projects and Schools Resource C: Books and Journals Worth a Read Resource D:Learner-Centered Glossary: Some Definitions References Index

About the Author

Barbara L. McCombs directs the Human Motivation, Learning, and Development Center at the University of Denver. The center focuses on the professional development of educators, personal and organizational change, systemic educational reform, and school violence prevention. McCombs' current research is directed at new leadership models for redesigning outdated views of schooling and learning. This research has led to her international and national recognition in areas that include transformational teacher development approaches, motivating hard-to-reach students, and the use of technology as a primary tool for empowering youth and facilitating relevant learning. The author has begun a series of books published by Corwin Press. Learner-Centered Classroom Practices and Assessments: Maximizing Student Motivation, Learning, and Achievement (2006) was co-authored with Lynda Miller and written for teachers. Her second book in the series, written for school administrators and other school leaders, was also co-authored with Lynda Miller and is titled A School Leader's Guide to Creating Learner-Centered Education: From Complexity to Simplicity (2008). McCombs is the primary author of Learner-Centered Psychological Principles (LCPs): Guidelines for School Redesign and Reform. She has developed research-validated learner-centered models of teaching and learning based on the LCPs. Through collaborations with colleagues at the University of Bristol in England, she developed an online version of her Assessment of Learner-Centered Practices (ALCP) teacher and student surveys. These surveys have been validated with over 35,000 students and their teachers in Grades K-3, 4-8, 9-12, and college level. The ALCP surveys are being used in numerous national and international K-12 schools as well as colleges. Lynda Miller began her professional career as a junior high school English teacher in Westminster, Colorado. Her interest in language and cognitive development led her to graduate studies, which culminated in a PhD in language development and disorders and learning disabilities. She has held teaching positions at the University of Colorado, the University of Montana, and the University of Texas at Austin, where she pursued her research on cognition, learning styles, and intelligence. Her research and teaching focused on identifying and describing students' learning strengths and abilities, and on translating that information into instructional strategies designed to support students' developing skills as motivated, self-responsible learners. Miller is the author of numerous publications on a variety of topics, the majority of which focus on the learner and learning as the essential features of successful instruction.


"This book offers practical suggestions for how to create a learner-centered environment, which I believe teachers want to do-they just need to know how!" -- Judi Elman, English Teacher
"I loved the connections that were made between the suggested practices to improve teaching and real life uses of those practices!" -- Brigitte Tennis, Head Teacher
"This is one of the most well-written books on educational theory that I have read, because it goes to the heart of teaching-the students." -- Betty Brandenburg Yundt, Fifth Grade Teacher

"Well-organized, it practices what it preaches. The authors used varied techniques to build the readers' understanding of learner-centered concepts, techniques, and advocacy. The evidence for learner-based principles and techniques provides credibility to the concepts."

-- Ellen Carlton Herbert, Teacher

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