Here’s a debate that we discus constantly with teachers and administrators and a topic on which students and parents also have their word to say.
With a connected Student Planner such as Studyo, Teachers have the option of publishing tasks directly to their Student’s planners, but there are conflicting views on wether this is a good or bad thing.
Increasing student responsibility
On one hand, our goal as educators is to enable students to take control of their planning and take responsibility for entering their assignments, exam dates and other important information.
At the same time, parents want to know what is expected of their kids, and have a place to double-check the facts. So they end up visiting a class site, school portal or another resource they might have access to. They typically want their students to have access to this information and clearly know what is expected of them, directly in their planners. After all, it is the one tool they use all day, every day.
A 21st Century view
On the other hand, in our daily work lives, do we all enter each and every of our meetings and todo’s ourselves? Are we not “invited” to meetings or assigned project steps and tasks as part of a team? Shared calendars and task managers are there to make everyone more effective, and it has become the norm to have one person initiate these elements and others to consume them.
The deadline is just the end product
Planning is a whole lot more than simply knowing when a task is due or an exam is happening. It is about habits of mind to reach these goals (see our Habits of Mind white paper for more). Students must decide when they will initiate a task (the most important step for teens) and perhaps subdivide and plan sub-steps to reach their goals. These are but two of the proper planning habits they need to master to increase their success in school and beyond.
So announcing dates has to be done somehow, be it verbally in class, by writing it on the white board, by posting it on a school site or portal or by publishing it in the student planners. All of which represent ways of communicating expectancies to students. The fact of writing it themselves in their planner is not taking responsibility, but just one step towards really learning to plan to achieve their goals. And not the most important in the context of 21st Century skills.
In the end, wether teachers decide to publish tasks to student planners or not, and use different tools is their prerogative, and Studyo certainly supports all different models. But we encourage schools to reflect on this and make sure you also work with your students to develop proper planning skills and enhance their Executive Function Skills effectively. Today’s school is about nurturing these skills and helping students build them. And for this, you do need a plan.