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Learning Lab Education Radio


Mar 30, 2015

Letting go of control in the classroom can be a challenging proposition, but for high school math teacher Rik Rowe it came naturally. His construction of a truly student centered learning environment has allowed students to become autonomous and self actualized learners. Rik has accomplished this through much thought, discussion and perseverance and he credits two weekly Twitter chats, #COLChat and #SBLChat for helping him to develop his mindset. on this unique experience his students are fortunate to have in his classroom.

Uncovering vs. Covering

It's readily apparent that Rik has a genuine understanding of what real learning looks like. Instead of telling his students what it is they need to learn and when they need to learn it, he asks them what they need more help understanding with- thus uncovering their understanding in a novel way. In this student centered learning environment students can enunciate what they are confused on and can not only ask for help from classmates, but help each other on these questions.

Student Centered Learning:

Students are:

  • free to question
  • able to explain in their own way
  • collaborating together
  • making their own assessments

 "I wish I had given up control to the students years ago. I wish I had developed a culture of learning and  a trust and a respect that its their future, its their education- it's their opportunity to learn how to learn. I am there to guide them, I am not there to tell them what to do". - Rik Rowe

Using Tic-Tac-Toe

A great tool to use for comparing terms and concepts, including numerics and operations in math. Rik has discovered that using this game like tool for assessments has reduced test anxiety. This student centered learning environment builds confidence and creates a climate in which students can demonstrate their understandings in a way that suits them best.


Barbara Bray
over a year ago

What a joy to hear Rik Rowe on your podcast! Rik wrote a guest post for us about personalizing learning in his math class (http://www.personalizelearning.com/2015/08/personalizing-learning-in-high-school.html). Yes, focusing on our learners is about letting go and uncovering learning vs covering the curriculum. Thank you!