How to Give Students More Control over Their Education

December 2, 2019
Giving students more control over their education is not only possible... It's more important than ever.

Giving students control over their education means giving them autonomy in their learning. When we talk about autonomy, we’re referring to a student’s ability to be responsible for his or her own learning process.

Autonomy in learning is something conscious that is done intentionally. With this autonomy, students decide to make decisions for themselves about learning, participating, and taking control of their education.

Working with their teachers, they develop certain abilities, such as the following:

  • Choosing content.
  • The sequence of subjects.
  • The ability to plan classes.
  • Self-evaluation.

By giving students more control over their education, they cease to be mere receptors of information. Rather, they become an active part of the learning and teaching process.

Allowing students to get involved and to control certain facets of their education equips them with tools for achieving success.

For teachers and professors, the thought of giving students control over their education may seem like a risk. But the fact of the matter is that this decision actually makes students more receptive to learning.

As a result, they will be more motivated to accept challenges. In the following article, we’ll look at some of the things we can do in order to give students more control over their education.

How to Give Students More Control over Their Education

Controlling comprehension in different ways to give students more control over their learning

Evaluation is an area of education that is under constant study. Findings are making it clearer and clearer that it’s time to get rid of the traditional means of evaluating students. There’s a great need to transform and update evaluation methods.

For example, experts recommend asking multiple-choice questions. What’s more, they even suggest allowing students to choose between two or more questions on tests. Changing the way we evaluate students makes the understanding of subjects better and more comfortable for them.

Creating more flexible assignments

The debate regarding homework in education continues. It’s common for students of all ages to complain about having too much homework to do. One way to reduce complaints and stress is to give students the option of choosing among several assignment options. That way, they can choose what they want to be, be more autonomous, and feel more in control.

For example, you can give students a sheet with language exercises… Out of the 15 exercises on the sheet, they can choose 10 to complete. As for history, you can give them several subtopics that they can choose for the writing of an essay.

In math, again, students can choose just half of the provided exercises. Doing this will help to change students’ attitudes regarding their homework completely.

Personalized subjects and content to give students more control over their education

Often, teachers and professors want their students to read a book in order to go deeper on a certain subject. If this is the case, then a good idea is to provide them with a list of books on the subject and let them decide which one to read.

The idea behind these choices is for them to create their own personalized content and maximize their autonomy.

How to Give Students More Control over Their Education

Personal goals

You’ll discover that your students have a wide variety of goals, from the simplest to the most complex. And you’ll always come to find you have some students that are truly interested in learning. Others will talk about what they want to do when they finish school, while others may seem more apathetic.

All of this is interesting and important to take into account when creating our sessions and exposing subject matter, designing assignments, and looking for content. It will help make students responsible for their achievements.

Evaluating the educator

As teachers and professors, we’re constantly evaluating our students. But in order to give them more control over their education, you should allow them to do the opposite. That is, every once in a while and in a way that you establish together, encourage them to evaluate you.

This will help them feel that you’re listening to them. What’s more, they’ll know they have a voice and that their opinion matters when it comes to their own learning.

It’s important to constantly strive to allow students to have more and more control over the teaching-learning process. In doing so, you’ll be creating a method that’s more useful and effective for both you and your learners.

Giving students more control over their education involves changing your perspective. It may seem unattractive at first, but with time, you and your students will come to see how beneficial it is for all.

  • Kaufman, David. (2003). Applying educational theory in practice.
  • Sanchez, William, and Jane Fried. (1997). Giving voice to students’ narratives: Cultural criticism and education in the helping/service professions. College Teaching.