Supporting student-centered learning

Elkins Middle School students representing the Kump Education Center STREAM Program were asked to present samples of their learning activities for the Student Expo at the Education Summit in Charleston October 17. It was a time to celebrate Student-Centered Learning.

EMS student Haylee Woods had the opportunity to show State Superintendent Steven Paine how to operate a MindStorm Robot in a large conference room at Embassy Suites. Also she gave an interview for television news. Clearly adults were listening to what Haylee had to say, and several other students participated in Summit presentations.

Like many “new” educational programs, student-center learning is an ancient idea. It starts with self knowledge. “Know thyself,” was Socrates’s advice for students, and “self-trust is the first secret of success,” according to an ancient Chinese proverb.

Kump Education Center STREAM mentors seek to help students value their own strengths and set SMART goals to overcome their weaknesses. The purpose of the mentors is to empower students to control their own choices by setting reasonable goals with the help of an adult who supports intelligent decision making.

Good educators always start by trying to understand what learners know and what they are ready and willing to learn. Instruction must begin on the students’ level and motivate students to take the next step to do what each individual student wants to achieve.

When schools are focused on the development of individual students, and those students take the responsibility for their own learning, students learn what they need to know, and they become successful life-long learners.

The Summit offered an opportunity for members of the business community to meet with educators and see how businesses can better support and guide progress in education.

The motto of West Virginia’s Education Alliance is: “Education is Everyone’s Business.”

Gov. Gaston Caperton helped to start this organization believing that economic success grows from a strong education. He recognized that “Education isn’t a linear progression for each and every student; effective instruction must be dynamic and provide students with relevant skills. The Education alliance exists to connect private business and public education and provide high quality education to all West Virginia students.”