Whether the students are struggling or proficient, the program is designed to nurture their natural passion for learning and mastery, challenging them to go beyond the easy and familiar so they can truly excel. The program can be introduced in stages in any middle or high school classroom and enables students of diverse abilities to design and pursue independent course work, special projects, or even artistic presentations, community field work or apprenticeships.
Using this approach, the students take on an increasingly autonomous, self-directed role as they progress. The heart of the program is the action contract (or learning agreement) whereby the student sets challenging yet attainable goals, commits to a path for achieving them, and evaluates the results. Special emphasis is placed on developing skills and competencies that can serve the student well in his or her academic and career endeavors.
(Publisher’s description from www.josseybass.com)
About the author:
Maurice Gibbons is a Canadian who grew up on the west coast, completed his BA at the University of British Columbia, his MA in English at the University of Washington, and his doctorate at Harvard where he was on the editorial board of the Harvard Educational Review.
He taught in elementary and secondary schools before teaching at the University of British Columbia and at Simon Fraser University, from which he is now an emeritus professor.
A specialist in the creation of innovative approaches to instruction, the programs he has designed emphasize self-direction, challenge and excellence.
For young people to thrive in highly flexible, changing environments, they need to have grown up in open and challenging environments that stimulate their ability to be creative and thoughtful. It is rare for such challenging learning environments to coexist within institutions driven by a time-clock or a mass of standard operating procedures.
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