You can have all the best well-crafted assessments, lessons, targets, and reporting systems in your school, yet it is the classroom culture that makes or breaks proficiency-based learning. One essential aspect of a learner-centered classroom culture is the inclusion of student voice. A successful competency-based classroom is a place where all members of the community get a say in how things run. As the teacher you ultimately have the final word, and you are responsible for making sure all other voices (students, parents, support staff, and anybody else) are heard, but you do not get to make all the decisions yourself. One incredibly useful tool for engaging student voice in the classroom is a “parking lot”. A successful parking lot not only gives students an easy way to contribute their voice to the classroom community, it also makes the internal dialogue of the classroom community transparent.
Creating A Parking Lot:
Some teachers will set up a blank spot on the wall simply labeled “Parking Lot.” Other people use a piece of chart paper divided into sections with different purposes, such as questions, positives, changes needed, or ideas. Design it however you want, just make sure you use it! (more…)