Developing Student Ownership – New Book for Supporting Your Students to Own Their Learning

Knowledge utilization can be a short trip or a deeper dive.

By Robert Crowe and Jane Kennedy

Imagine walking into a third-grade classroom, asking a student, “What are you learning today?” and hearing this:

“We are learning about the causes and effects of evolution. When changes happen in the environment, some organisms survive, some move, and some die. We are gathering examples of each of these. I will be writing an essay about a specific organism to show whether it would live, move, or die in different habitats. I have to use evidence to support my ideas. My group will work together and help each other gather our evidence. I like working with my friends because the talking helps me better understand what I am thinking and because I get smarter every day.”

Imagine if that were the response from the majority of the children. Is such an in-depth understanding of one’s learning achievable, or is it merely a pipe dream? Do you believe a child could know that much about what they were learning and how they were learning it? Do you believe students can take this much ownership of their own learning?

Believe it.



In our new book Developing Student Ownership, we contend that the most effective way to elevate student achievement is by empowering students to take ownership of their learning. This belief is not hypothetical. It is grounded by research and supported by decades of classroom experience.

Developing Student Ownership is your guide to creating ownership in your classroom, school, and district. Through research-based practices and practical anecdotes, the book answers the following fundamental questions about teaching students to own their learning:

  • What is student ownership and why does it matter?
  • What does student ownership look like and sound like in the classroom?
  • What is the teacher’s role in student ownership?
  • What are the Strategic Learning Practices needed to develop student ownership?

Educators work hard. They come to school each day motivated to provide students with the highest-quality learning. But, true achievement can’t be increased if only the adults are motivated. Students must be motivated as active participants who know what they are learning, how they are learning, how well they are learning, and their role in the learning. Developing Student Ownership provides the tools you need to increase student motivation, and thus student achievement, by increasing student ownership.

Can you imagine walking into your own class full of motivated, engaged, and eager students who own their learning?

We can.

Other articles you might like:

We believe that the most important thing a teacher or leader can do is to fuel each student’s passion for learning. When this is achieved, a lifetime of accomplishment becomes possible for that learner. Through partnerships with schools and districts throughout the country, we help educators and leadership transform each classroom into a powerful learning environment that prepares students for lasting success in school, the global workplace, and beyond. Our vision for the future is big and bright, and we love helping schools get there. Learn more about Learning Sciences International.