Student as Expert

Adults trust that students have the ability, and the inclination, to solve academic and social problems, instead of assuming students need adults to solve problems for them. It means student voice and ideas are abundant in every lesson, in every interaction. As a result, the Wonder-Experiment-Learn Cycle becomes a habit of mind and a strategy for problem-solving in academic and non-academic settings. 

Putting students in the role of expert, or emerging expert can be as simple as saying, ‘How did you make the first bunny ear? Can you figure out how to make the second one?’ instead of, ‘Let me take care of that for you,’ when a young child asks for help tying his shoe. Another simple example: responding when a second grader asks how much longer until lunch with, ‘Take a look at the clock and see if you can figure it out,’ instead of, ‘30 minutes.’ 

Putting students in the role of expert can be as complex as insisting the student take the lead in figuring out how to add two-thirds and three-fourths, instead of telling him how to solve the math problem, or recalibrating the plan for an entire lesson to embrace the interests and questions of a student.