Students as Learners and Teachers: Taking Responsibility, Transforming Education, and Redefining Accountability

Sep. 10, 2010

Source: Curriculum Inquiry, Volume 40, Issue 4, pages 555–575, September 2010.

In this comparative descriptive analysis, the author argues that the current structures and practices of U.S. schools and colleges are informed by particular ideals regarding the potential of education.

The author claims that a major reason why these ideals have rarely been realized is the way that students are positioned in educational institutions, dialogues, and reform. Hence, the author calls for rethinking how we conceptualize student role and responsibility.

This call frames the author's comparison of two programs, which she designed:
One program involves secondary students in the preparation of high school teachers and
the other program involves college students in the professional development of college faculty.

The author then draws on the perspectives of student participants across these two programs to address a series of educational ideals that span K–12 and college contexts: inspiring lasting learning, celebrating humanity and diversity, and engaging in meaningful assessment.

The author designed these programs with the goal of improving teacher preparation and teaching. However, the author finds out that these programs are proving to be promising models for pursuing what may be a more encompassing possibility: fostering in students a sense of and capacity for responsibility in ways that not only address existing educational ideals but that also point to both more transformative and more achievable notions of education and accountability than those currently in place.

Updated: Mar. 17, 2011