After a day spent in professional development, Mr. Russ Goerend, a 6th Grade Language Arts teacher at Waukee Middle School in Waukee, Iowa, blogged a query regarding accountability for students' learning. He discussed the problem that we as educators are given "what" to teach, and that it is our duty to provide the "how". He touched on the fact that when we reach adulthood, we usually have mastered the best way to teach ourselves; he then solicited ideas or reflections on how to get students to own their learning when the "what" is given but not the "how".
I responded that my father, a PhD, knew he was an auditory learner, and so he used that information to record his voice to learn State of Alabama license plate county numbers, so that mode worked for him. I continued by saying that it is up to teachers to make the material interesting and therefore help the students want to participate, to facilitate life-long learning and pursuit of knowledge, and find in ourselves the best way to monitor participation, interest and enthusiasm. Using on-going self-reflective practices, during instruction (in conjunction with testing) was my suggestion as a part of overall assessment, using a kind of mental log to look for response in all areas from each child. This type of personal observation can be key to isolating or combining learning modes to help children stay motivated to learn.