Student-Led Learning & The Science Festival

Traditionally, classrooms have been designed to follow a one-way flow of information, with the teacher imparting knowledge to the students. However, research has shown that there are significant benefits to student-led learning, where students take ownership of their own education and are actively involved in the teaching process.

When students are sitting and getting instruction, the learning experience is typically passive. The teacher is the primary source of knowledge, and students are expected to absorb this knowledge through passive listening. This approach can be limiting, as students are not given the opportunity to explore the topic in-depth or to apply their knowledge in practical situations.

On the other hand, when students lead and teach, they become active participants in the learning process. This approach involves giving students the opportunity to take charge of their own learning, with the teacher acting as a facilitator. Students are given the chance to explore topics in greater depth, to ask questions, and to work collaboratively with their peers. They are encouraged to take risks and to make mistakes, which can be an important part of the learning process.

Student-led learning has several benefits. It can increase student engagement and motivation, as students are given more ownership of their education. It can also improve critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as students are encouraged to explore topics in greater depth and to apply their knowledge in practical situations. Student-led learning can also promote teamwork and collaboration, as students work together to solve problems and to share their knowledge with their peers.

Mrs. Pethé and her students have demonstrated time and time again what this looks like in action. Most recently, they shared a culminating project at the St. Petersburg Science Festival. While most students were brought by their teachers to attend workshops, Mrs. Pethé and Indi-ED students were hosting a booth of their own.

During the pandemic her students were working on a marine science unit. As they dug in, they won a Jane Goodall grant and were ready to share their knowledge in partnership with local environmental groups. The pandemic halted those in person opportunities but Mrs. Pethé and her students committed to finishing the task they set out to accomplish and it was beautiful to watch in action. Students reciting pledges to protect our environment, participating in activities and activities, and sharing knowledge. All initiated and created by the students and guided by their teacher.

While traditional classrooms and practices may still have a place in education, there are many benefits to student-led learning. By giving students the opportunity to lead and teach, we can create a more engaging and dynamic learning environment that promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration.