Participatory learning means there are no “idle learners” in our school. We are a democracy. That means everyone has a say in the direction of his or her learning. And everyone is actively involved. We use an open learning style that encourages students to take control of their own learning experience with teacher assistance.
We vote on a regular basis
Through participatory learning, our school uses a democratic approach. We take votes as often as we can throughout our school day. A teacher might ask the class if it prefers to study reading or math first. There might be a vote on taking class outside or not. The process teaches kids that they have the power to decide. They prioritize and appraise issues based on their experience and knowledge. It gives them a responsibility to take charge of their education. And it also gives them the confidence to know that they can be trusted with that responsibility.
We are a collaborative environment
Students use collective analysis and learning through participatory learning. They work in groups to solve problems and work toward a common goal. A teacher will pose a question to the class. The class will work together to come up with an answer. Our teachers are there to facilitate the learning. Students are encouraged to share their perceptions and identity. They learn from each other as well as the teacher. Participatory learning forces a student to view a subject from several different vantage points.
Students are active participants
Our students drive their own learning process. Every Friday we hold a Genius Hour. Students are given free time to pursue anything that strikes their curiosity. They must come up with a plan for how they’d like to pursue that interest. They’ll present their plan to the class. This also helps teachers figure out how to motivate individual students.