In On Constraints, Road Maps, and Driving Directions, Bud the Teacher states,
“As we do so, we’re struggling with notions of when to allow for choice and when to constrain it. Constraints aren’t evil – they can be quite helpful and useful for limiting the possibilities and allowing for actual, reasonable responses from teachers and students to the events, habits and practices of the classroom. Wide open choice for everyone on everything isn’t necessary helpful.”
I have found that in my classroom, my students like choices. At their age they feel like they have no control in things that affect them so when they have choices, it makes them feel more in control. But having too many choices can be overwhelming so it is important that I limit the number of choices they are allowed to have. I try to give my students choices as much as possible.
When I give them choices, I don’t seem to have a power struggle with them. They don’t feel like they have to be stubborn and dig their heels in just because they can.
Here are some of the ways I give them choices:
· I have a list of assignments that need to be done during the class. They can choose the order they complete them in.
· For assessment, I give them a variety of ways that they can show me they understand the lesson or the unit.
· Sometimes I allow them to work in groups, partners, or alone.
· I ask them to brainstorm ways that I can enhance the lesson so that they have some input. I then choose the ones that I can live with and allow them to choose 2 or 3 that they would like for me to do.
· Sometimes I give them a list of requirements that I am expected to complete with them and as long as it doesn’t have to be done in sequential order, I let them choose by a class vote, which order we will do things.
Not everything can be given to students to allow for choice but whenever possible, I think it is important that they have this option. I think it builds confidence and independence.
Do you allow your students some choice? If so, what are they and how do you implement it? Please share.