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November 22, 2010

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Bill Bjorum

There is a role for learner direction in educational programs, granted. That constructivist component contributes to meaningful learning. Learner leaders need to use the skill of listening. But in this era of state and nationally mandated competencies, test standards, quality measures, and mapped curriculum, learning cannot be left to the whim of the learner. The higher institution is obligated to know when and how to lead, and then exercise that learning leadership. This may be best done by folks who know where the path leads and are walking the walk ahead of the students. Guided learning,experience and advanced professional practice in a mentoring relationship are invaluable to the person studying to improve professional practice or qualify for leadership positions. Learning is often motivated from within, but it is expertise, knowledge, and experience that makes the learning valuable. True leadership knows and uses learner direction, but retains control of the syllabus and its objectives and assessments.

Don St. Dennis

Our classroom, like our neighborhoods and workplaces, have rapidly changed into a diverse fabric of cultures and peoples. It is critical that we begin to integrate cultural responsive teaching into our schools. Ms Hopkins is correct in that this can't just be a one-off experience but must be an ongoing, long term program that incorporates not only good curriculum but teachers that mirror their students.

Rebecca Hopkins

Bill, thank you for your comments. I agree with you about the important role of the mentor and maintaining the quality and rigor of the learning objectives. We have competencies and standards for a reason, and a quality guided learning opportunity can assist the learner in making them meaningful. This in turn informs the mentor's work. Well said.

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