Owning vs. Renting Understanding

When instruction is designed around students rather than teachers, students are the ones doing the learning.  And when students are doing learning, checking their understanding, making mistakes, fixing broken knowledge using tools and strategies, and monitoring how well they’re learning is going, we hand the power to own learning back to students.

If we don’t have students practice the actual process of learning, then we’re teaching them to rent, not own understanding.

They need to be owners, not short-term renters.




  1. This really spoke to me. As a current student teacher getting my Master’s at the University of Michigan, I am encouraged to see that for students to own their learning we need to provide a student led class. Have you noticed that this is becoming more a of a norm in the teaching world as of late? Thank you for the inspiring post!

    1. Hi Natalie! I think it’s become the norm in some districts, but not in others. I feel it depends on how much professional development has been done on current best practice.

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