Hartford Teachers Embark on Action Research to Identify Student-Centered Learning Approaches

Hartford Teachers Embark on Action Research to Identify

Student-Centered Learning Approaches


Project funded by Nellie Mae Education Foundation

Michelle Puhlick, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction leads a session.
October 9, 2013
In late September, teachers from Bulkeley Upper High School and Pathways to Technology and Design met with coaches, principals, and curriculum directors to discuss a vision for student-centered learning in Hartford’s high schools.
Over the next 18 months this group of educators will explore how schools around the world use blended learning approaches to shift the focus of instruction from the teacher to the students.  
Student-centered learning is a shift from the traditional instructional model in which a teacher stands at the front of the room and delivers a lecture to students taking notes at their desks.  The student-centered approach recognizes that education is not “one-size fits all.” Every student has a different learning style, unique experiences and interests, and individual needs.  
Blended Learning, defined as a formal education program in which a student learns in part through online learning, allows students some control over how they learn and at what pace (Clayton Christensen Institute, 2012). Blended learning is one way to make student-centered learning possible.
The group of educators will form a “professional learning community” to share knowledge and ideas.  The professional learning community, or PLC, will visit schools that have successfully implemented blended learning models, attend conferences focused on innovations in educational technology, and review current literature to design their own blended learning projects.
Each teacher will use a blended learning model in his or her own classroom. They will carefully document its impact on student achievement, engagement, and classroom culture.
Throughout this process, the Superintendent’s Work Group on Student-Centered Learning in High School will receive regular updates from the PLC.
The Work Group is composed of principals, teachers, parents, community and educational partners, technology experts, and central office staff.  Its task is to provide input and advise on the planning process for this project. It will ensure the scope of the work reflects the district’s focus on providing deeply personalized, student-centered educational experiences for students, to advance student achievement goals, and to prepare students for college and career success.
This project is funded by a grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation that provides $450,000 over 18 months to research, plan, and pilot blended learning models at the high school level.

Information on the progress of this research grant will be shared on the Blended Learning Project Website, Spotlight on Excellence, and through community forums and Board of Education workshops.

To learn more about blended learning, explore the following resources:
1.    The Clayton Christensen Institute
2.    Edutopia
3.    Education Week

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