"It is better to be a guide on the side than a sage on the stage."  — Paul Hewitt

"Humans do not learn by being told."  — Steven Pinker

If the purpose of school is to prepare students to live life well, then surely one of our goals is to teach them to be responsible and self-directed learners. Schools often fail to cultivate these attributes in students, even successful students, because they are rarely given the opportunity to practice the skill of making good decisions, of having agency over their learning.  To put it simply, they are told what to do too much of the time.

An important part of the design of a learning sequence, then, must be to minimize teacher-directed activities and maximize student-directed ones.  The focus of pedagogy must shift from skillful delivery of content to the facilitating of self-directed learning.

When designing a learning sequence, an important variable therefore lies in who is actively engaged during each block.  Are students working alone, in groups, or as a whole class?  More importantly, who is steering the process? In order for students to become responsible and self-directed, they should have choices in the learning process as often as possible.                 

Here is a summary of possible modes for each building block of the learning sequence:

Notice that only three of the eight blocks include teacher-directed activities, and even those can be partially or even completely student-directed.  Keeping this in mind will help you design a learning sequence that fosters responsibility, independence, and self-directedness in your students.