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Self-Paced DOES NOT Mean Self-Taught

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Self-paced learning can be a great tool.

If you've ever tried to implement mastery or self-paced learning in your classroom, or attempted a long-term project that is student-centered, you've probably tried it (or are still doing it) because, frankly...these things work. Anytime you can make your classroom more student-centered and meet the needs of more students, you're going to increase achievement for your learners.

When self-paced learning goes wrong...

Regardless of how much positive data and research exists for learning that allows students to master material (by the way there is a lot...you can even google it if you want), even the best pedagogy can be destroyed by improper or poor implementation. As I work with schools and districts to implement mastery learning there is a common misconception that can cause this to happen. A lot of educators think that because students are accessing content or curriculum at their own pace that they are also supposed to learn on their own. This couldn't be further from the truth. Self-paced learning is NOT self taught.

Self-paced learning should mean more teaching, not less.

One of the primary concerns I get from teachers has baffled me for a while. I often get asked, "but when will I teach?" in a student-paced classroom. My response is always the same: "All the time."  Self-paced learning in your classroom should allow you to individually reach the needs of ALL learners and provide constant, consistent feedback as they progress through the curriculum.

As opposed to having a single experience with 20-30 students, a self-paced classroom teacher can curate and experience 20-30 separate, individual interactions with students as they need it. This is truly a powerful aspect of this method. But if not utilized correctly, it can drastically reduce the success of implementation.

As with anything, self-paced learning only works when implemented with fidelity. If you aren't working hard in your classroom when trying this, you're probably doing it wrong. The payoff however, is that your students will learn more, grow academically, and become more confident than ever!

So...if you haven't tried self-paced learning, maybe you should.  And as you start making your classroom more successful and productive, don't forget: self-paced learning DOES NOT mean self-taught learners.

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After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree In Biology, Chad Ostrowski or “Mr. O” as his students fondly call him, set his sights on education. He was chosen as one of only 50 individuals in the state of Ohio to be granted the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship through the Ohio STEM Learning Network.  Through this fellowship, he received his Master’s in Science Education and gained intensive training and expertise in STEM education, Problem Based Learning, Inquiry-based instruction as well as other cutting-edge educational research and modern pedagogical theory. 


Ostrowski has since presented research at the NSTA National Conference onProblem-Based Learning in the Gifted Classroom and Continues to develop and research modern innovative educational practices. Chad has been teaching  Middle School Science in a high needs urban district for 4 years. In that short time, due to his dedication to teaching, innovative teaching methods and educational leadership he has been named Science Department Chair within his building, Building Leadership Team member and District Co-chair of Middle School Science Curriculum. 


It is through these foundations that he has created and developed  the The Grid Method - Mastery Learning System in order to synthesize his knowledge of best practices in education into a system that allows ALL of his students to meet and exceed  their potential. 


Chad has now left the classroom to shre his innovative practices, techniques and strategies with educators all over the country. He does this through speaking at conferences, providng teacher development and workshops, as well as producing blogs, and videos.

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Guest Thursday, 19 October 2017