Democratic and Co-Constructed Classes

Institutions of higher education, and in particular liberal arts institutions, often highlight the level of student engagement in their classes. What engagement means, however, varies. Engagement could include student-centered instruction, the ways in which classroom spaces are places of shared learning, undergraduate research opportunities, or discussion-based seminar courses. Regardless of what is meant by engagement, in all types of higher education institutions, there are questions of how much authentic student engagement occurs in classrooms and the role of students in helping construct the course environment and what is to be studied.

Two models promote high levels of engagement through shared development of the classroom environment, learning, and even the content and structure of the course: Developing democratic classrooms and co-constructing a course with students. These models ...

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