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Video: Professor Toshalis discusses research on student-centered learning

August 23, 2012

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In a new paper, assistant professor of education Eric Toshalis concludes that the more teachers use approaches that respond to each student’s needs and interests, the more motivation and engagement—and therefore student success—are likely to follow.

No Child Left Behind…created all these trains of curriculum that kids have to find a way to jump on and hold on. If they can’t, and if they fall off, then those kids actually are left behind…. We need to return to more student-centered, personalized, customized forms of education in diverse classrooms. Homogenous classrooms are far too dedicated to efficiency over diversity and the unique needs of kids in our schools.

That may sound obvious—and Toshalis agrees that educators have more or less known this all along. But his publication is part of a larger effort to validate these common-sense findings with rigorous data collection and research. Toshalis says he hopes politicians will begin to base education policy decision-making on the kinds of research-validated findings his paper presents.

In this brief video, Toshalis discusses the paper, “Motivation, Engagement, and Student Voice.” It is part of a larger project funded by Jobs for the Future called Students at the Center.


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