Innovation & Student-Centered Learning

Innovation & Student-Centered Learning

The Challenge

The industrial-era model of school, where students sit silently in rows of desks and the teacher spends most of class time lecturing, is still the norm today. While this one-size-fits-all design of school works for some, it has not worked for a large portion of public school students, in particular students who have been traditionally underserved.

Learning today must be designed with students' unique needs, interests, identities, and aspirations at the center—and with their ideas and voices at the table.

Unfortunately, many state, district, and school policies reinforce the outdated design of school. Policies reinforce models where: students follow a prescribed pathway rather than deep inquiry informed by their interests; educators serve mostly as lecturers rather than coaches and guides; learning happens only inside the school day and school walls rather than out in community; subjects are treated independently rather than in applied, interdisciplinary contexts; and success is measured mostly by standardized tests rather than also authentic demonstrations of knowledge and skills.

Our Work to Address It

We’re collaborating with educators, administrators, communities, and policymakers to change state, district, and school policies so they enable and encourage innovation and student-centered learning. And, we're helping to connect and support a core group of educators and schools working to reimagine learning.

See the "Relevant Initiatives" box for specific examples of our work on this issue.