Student Ownership Today

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Student Ownership Today

The last year has been abysmal for some learners. The whole issue of student ownership of learning has been challenged as teachers shift their curriculum and classes to online and hybrid teaching. This blog post explores what student ownership looks like beyond this point.

Student ownership is often mistaken for student empowerment, student voice and student engagement. They are not synonyms. 

Instead, student ownership is the amount of investment learners have in the topics they are learning, the methods they are learning through and the places where learning happens. Student ownership does not automatically happen through any specific method though. It can be fostered through many different approaches, when done right.

A recent report from the REL identified how self-regulation leads to student agency. At Youth and Educators Succeeding, we teach teachers that student agency leads to student ownership. This fosters collective goals, group functioning, and whole-group student ownership.

4 Paths to Online Student Ownership

Through our 24 years of experience and research in K-12 schools nationwide, YES has found that teachers and other adults throughout schools who want students to own their learning should…

  • Be a learning partner, not a provider. Student/adult partnerships are key for fostering student ownership of learning, teaching and leadership.
  • Dedicate online learning time to self-discovery. At all ages, students must have a sense of who they are, how they learn, what they want to learn, and why they want to learn what they want to learn.
  • Provide supports for pursuing passion. From cross-checking student interests against state standards to using curricular approaches that foster curiosity, students should be encouraged to follow their interests.
  • Create space for mistakes. Teach students the success of failure, support their grasps for the unknown and allow room for error. Students feel comfortable messing up when they know they won’t be punished for it.

For more information about student ownership in learning online, check out the article about it on our SoundOut program website. Contact me if you want to talk about it!

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Published by Adam F.C. Fletcher

I'm a speaker and writer who researches, writes and shares about youth, education, and history. Learn more about me at

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