By Mark Heintz
Aug 15, 2019

Learners want to improve by choice while students  work for a grade.

It’s the second day of school with my students (still waiting on the first guy to finish his response). But, it’s the first-student contribution! As I opened their responses, I was a little nervous.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, since it’s so early in the school year. I’ll be curious to see how this evolves and if the students become more detailed or critical of what we are doing. I hope they do. Afterall, that is point. I’ll have to figure out a way to check that. Anyways, on to their responses.

Student contributions by Lili Duckmann and Allie Schlottman

Today during class we got into table groups and discussed the difference between a “learner” and a “student”.  As a group, we brainstormed our ideas on our tables. After we had decided the characteristics of both a learner and a student we begun to compare the two. We worked in groups to first make a bubble diagram of what we thought characteristics of a student are. 

Mr. Heintz then gave us groups and with those groups we found similarities for what we thought characteristics of students and learners were. We also added characteristics of learners that we thought were not the same for students. We also wrote out our definition of learners and students and provided an example. We then discussed our answers and explained them.
Today, Mr. Heintz had the class write in a format that is a great way to write for the AP test. I feel like we will be very well prepared because it’s the second day of school and he is already giving tips on how to do well on it.

I have grown as a learner by setting more goals for myself. I have many goals that are short and long term. Last year, I didn’t have many goals, I wanted good grades, which I got but I didn’t set many goals. I know have goals for score I want to get on tests and just goals for the day.

Throughout freshman year, I learned from taking all honors and AP classes that just simply showing up to class will not get you to your full academic potential. Taking the extra time to really break down the information being contained is an Important step to being a successful learner. Taking time to ask questions and going in for help when not understanding the concept improves your knowledge of the course and leads to better grades. Being a learner is about taking the extra mile to make sure you understand all the criteria. Personally, I have improved myself as a learner because when I don’t understand a certain concept I ask for help.

I think we could have spent more time sharing our answers as a class rather than in groups.

Back to Me

It’s exciting to see how the students grappled with the difference between student and learner. They knew there was a difference, but this is the first time most of them had a forum to express those thoughts with a teacher. Sadly, some of the words they used to describe a student were depressing: lazy, obedient, and tired.

I hope by working with the students and reflecting more openingly, I can minimize those thoughts about what a student is. Overall, I felt as the students discussed what the differences and similarities between student and learner were beyond honest with me and each other about their experiences as students. While a little depressing they had a sense of hope about being learners. As we parted ways at the end of the period, I told them to hold me accountable to creating conditions for learners, rather than treating them like students.

I’m a little surprised by her desire to have more time to report out as a whole class rather in their groups.  To be honest, I typically refrain from this because I often interject too much and insert my opinions.  That’s more of a me issue it seems.  It’s one more thing to work on.





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