Developing Student Ownership of Learning – 5 Key Points

Increasing Student ownership in learning sign

Hello! I am writing this article as a part of my own learning – as I develop Innovative Arts class, student ownership in their learning is a core principle. My goal is to help students grow in creative confidence as they control their own learning.

On to the article – Developing Student Ownership of Learning

Developing student ownership in learning is one of the most important tasks for teachers. When students take an active role in shaping their own education, they become more engaged and motivated. Teaching students to take ownership of their learning also encourages them to develop essential life skills such as self-discipline, problem solving, decision making, and independent thinking. It’s a win-win situation! Here are some strategies and starting points that teachers can use to help students become active participants in their own learning. 

Starting Point – Structuring the learning process

It’s also important to provide structure when giving students more freedom over their education. Start by introducing small changes that allow students to take charge of their own learning experience in manageable ways. For example, letting students choose which project they want to do or giving them options on how they present the material can help build self-confidence and increase engagement with the material. You can also assign roles within the classroom such as a leader or facilitator that allows everyone to contribute while still providing structure and direction during group work or discussions.  

Why Student Ownership is Important 

When it comes down to it, developing student ownership fosters an environment where children are actively engaged with the material instead of passively absorbing information from lectures or textbooks alone. It builds confidence because it gives children autonomy over their own educational journey rather than feeling like another task on a checklist that has been handed down by someone else – namely you as the teacher – without any personal investment or understanding beyond memorizing facts for tests later on down the line.  

Strategies for Developing Student Ownership of Learning 

The first step in developing student ownership of learning is to create an environment where students feel safe to express themselves and take risks with new ideas. Encourage collaboration among peers, foster an environment that encourages problem solving, and create open discussions about different topics. Additionally, allowing students to have a say in what they learn can have huge benefits. Involve your students in lesson planning by asking them what interests them or what topics they would like to explore further. Letting them choose what topics they want to cover will help them become engaged learners and give them a sense of ownership over their own learning process. 

1. Encourage student input in lesson planning

One way to increase student ownership in the classroom is to encourage them to have a say in what is being taught. This can be done by soliciting input from students when planning lessons and unit objectives. Allowing students to have a voice in the direction of their learning can help them to feel more invested and motivated.

2. Create opportunities for student choice

Another way to increase student ownership is to create opportunities for them to make choices within the classroom. This could involve giving students a choice of activities to complete, allowing them to work in groups or individually, or letting them choose the order in which they complete tasks. Giving students some control over their learning can help them to feel more engaged and motivated.

3. Allow for student-led discussions and presentations

Allowing students to lead discussions and presentations is another great way to increase student ownership. This can be done by having students take turns leading class discussions, or by having them give presentations on topics of their choice. Allowing students to take the lead can help them to feel more confident and invested in their learning.

4. Encourage student reflection

Encouraging students to reflect on their learning is another strategy for increasing student ownership. This can be done through journaling, exit tickets, or informal conversations. Asking students questions about what they’ve learned and how they feel about it can help them to process their learning and connect with the material on a deeper level.

One way to encourage student ownership is by having students reflect on their learning experiences. Ask questions about what worked well for them during a lesson or unit, what could have been improved upon, or how they felt about a particular topic or activity. Through reflection and thoughtful conversations with teachers and peers, students will develop greater insight into how they learn best and gain confidence in their knowledge and abilities. 

5. Use cooperative learning strategies

Cooperative learning strategies are another great way to increase student ownership in the classroom. These strategies involve students working together in small groups to complete tasks or solve problems. Cooperative learning can help students to feel more connected with their classmates and invested in their shared success.

Innovative Arts students are busy making projects, but the projects are not the whole point of the class. We are making projects for students to gain experience, confidence, and learn about themselves. The goal is to have unique creators walking around our schools, taking control of their own learning.

Start Early 

Teachers should start teaching student ownership as early as possible; even very young children can learn the basics of taking responsibility for themselves and their learning. Begin by introducing concepts like goal-setting, keeping track of assignments, developing good study habits, etc. Through on-going discussion with students about these topics, they will quickly learn the importance of taking ownership over their own education and how it can help them succeed in life. 

Developing student ownership of learning is essential for helping young people become successful learners who are prepared for the real world after graduation. By introducing concepts early on and providing opportunities for reflection and choice, teachers can empower students to take an active role in shaping their own education—ultimately leading to greater success in school and beyond!

Here are the resources that I am developing to increase student ownership in their learning:

Creating an environment where students feel safe enough to take risks, express themselves, and have more control over their educational journey is essential for developing student ownership of learning—and its importance cannot be overlooked! With thoughtful planning, creative approaches, and open dialogue between teachers and students alike, helping develop student ownership can be both rewarding for everyone involved! By creating opportunities that foster collaboration among peers, allowing for more flexible lesson plans based around student interests, providing structure when allowing more freedoms with projects/presentations—all these steps will lead towards creating motivated learners who understand the value behind taking responsibility for their own education!


I am creating this site to advance student creativity and help students to take ownership of their learning. The resources on this site are intentionally open-ended and a part of my Innovative Arts curriculum.

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