We know that an enriched environment is the best place for a student to learn yet we still move forward with a traditional classroom, especially in secondary education. We have known for well over a century that there are better models for education. In the early 1900’s, educators pushed the concept of reform, stating that sorting students by age limits the students’ potential and is a detriment to the advancement of society. Over the last few decades, we have seen schools shift slightly to place more emphasis on the individual yet we still group by age at the elementary level with only a few carve outs for so-called “gifted and talented” and special education populations. Our lessons are geared to still teach to the median student, right at the top of the bell curve, even if such a student doesn’t even exist in a given classroom.
The C.O.V.A. approach tries to avoid targeting just the middle student and shoot for the edges as well. There are many students in each class that fail to fit into the other categories and are completely left out of education. The goal is to teach the whole classroom though a constructionist approach that allows for a significantly improved learning environment. The goal is to create learning that gives reason, with the hopes of producing students that are capable of eventually learning on their own.
During my Masters course at Lamar University, I had the opportunity to read Dr. H’s book on Choice, Ownership, Voice, and Authentic Learning (C.O.V.A.). This concept is not novel, but this method of teaching is hardly used in practice. My theory for the lack of implementation across the United States is that it is just too hard to implement for the majority of teachers. One could argue that perhaps we are just lazy, but I think that we are actually overworked. The average teacher spends well over 60 hours each week working on lessons, grading, paperwork, and other duties. Incorporating a concept that requires a completely different mindset and a revamp of their entire lesson plan can be quite daunting and downright scary. Teachers generally want to diversify their learning strategies to meet individual needs within their classrooms, but worry that they may not find it rewarding, or that it may cause students to fall behind further for a time, and it is too hard to implement properly.
Harapnuik, D. (n.d.). C.O.V.A. COVA Model. Retrieved from https://www.harapnuik.org/?page_id=6615.