In their Own Words...

Pedro Cafasso says in his 15+ yrs of teaching, give students choice & invite them as co-creators of learning

Photo of Jennifer Gaspar- Santos
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I believe students will be more compelled to participate in the project when they feel instrumental in creating the objectives. 

In my opinion when my students can take what they have gathered information-wise and deliver it to their peers---it's the best evidence [of mastery]

Regurgitating information is sub-par... when they say it in their own words, there is nothing more powerful than that.

Pedro Cafasso is World Languages Dept Chair at SI College Prep in SF and uses games and active learning to engage his students. He invites them to be part of the learning as opposed to just passive receivers of the learning. He engages all of their bodies and minds and has students stand up in a Sound Ball game in order to get them learning outside of their desks. Pedro is also exploring ways his classroom engages students and allows them to be owners of their learning. He allows students to decide which chairs help them learn best-- he offers 4 different types of chairs and 4 different types of tables.

Pedro even invited his students to be part of designing the classroom. He believes that including students in space design empowers them to drive their learning.

Learn more here:

[Optional] Synthesize a little! In one sentence, describe something you learned from your empathy exercises or research.

Empower students by including them in the process, abandon the old model of teacher as the center and co-create the learning WITH AND FOR students.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Alysha English

Jennifer Gaspar- Santos  This is such an amazing and thoughtful contribution. I love that you incorporated the expertise and voice of another educator. I'm always wondering how much is lost in "translation" and agree that there is so much power in students articulating their own needs in their own words. I think it's our responsibility as educators to do the heavy lifting and translating what those words really mean and how we can adjust our classroom practices to reflect their needs. This is such an interactive and creativity way to make this happen! Love this post!
P.S. I noticed you mentioned SI College Prep and are based in San Francisco. Would love to meet you at some point and chat! Let's connect.

Photo of Jennifer Gaspar- Santos

Thanks Alysha for the positivity! Educators are designers and so it is important for us to empathize with those we are designing for.

And Yes--- to meeting at some point and chatting. I always love "talking shop" with other educators! Reach out when you're able. Email Addy:

Photo of Alysha English

Jennifer Gaspar- Santos Totally agreed. E-mail coming soon! :-)