An eighth-grader student was a member of the high school building design committee for a small school district in rural Texas. The committee, which reported to the school board, was creating plans for a new high school building.
One of the main issues the student raised was the monotony of the current school’s environment. “Why does the library have to have plain tables and chairs? They are so boring. Why cannot we have sofas or armchairs? And why do all the tables in the cafeteria have to seat ten people? Can there be tables for four?”
The student said the experience helped them “understand how the school board and planning committee works.” It also changed the students’ self-perception and made them want to be more involved in what was going on in the school. (Borden, 2004)
A growing number of schools are providing “regular” students with the opportunity to be involved in individualized education planning after recognizing the effectiveness of the approach. In these situations, student-designed learning practices require flexible goals students can take ownership in.