So far when I’ve introduced self-directed or self-initiated activities to my class, students have reacted with some combination of

  • Shock
  • Denial
  • Strong emotion
  • Resistance
  • Surrender
  • Struggle

If it goes well, and we’re able to make it through the storm, we might get to

  • Confidence
  • Integration

I’ve been thinking a lot of about Navigating the Bumpy Road to Student-Centered Instruction by Richard Felder and Rebbeca Brent.

The list of stages above is the one they use — pulled straight out of psychological research about dealing with trauma and grief.

The rest of the article has precautions and strategies in question and answer format for “smoothing out the bumps.”

If you’ve seen this in your classroom, how have you handled it?  If you are thinking of changing your curriculum toward self-direction, what do you think of the authors’ suggestions?  What exactly is it that students are grieving for?

If you want to know how it’s working for my students so far, check out their most recent test scores in my first post.  I’d score myself at a 3/5 on my own proposed rubric, so far.  But don’t worry — I have plans to reassess myself in the spring.