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Teachers and Students as Co-Learners

Toward a Mutual Value Theory


Dengting Boyanton

Teaching is hard. Many teachers find it stressful. New teachers often lose their enthusiasm. The special education population is skyrocketing. Students are losing their motivation. What has gone wrong? How can we create powerful learning in students? Most importantly, how can we bring joy back to the classroom? Mutual value theory, as developed by Dengting Boyanton, asserts that to generate powerful learning, four essential values must be instilled in both students and teachers:
1. self-value – both students and teachers value themselves highly
2. perceived self-value—both consider themselves to be highly valued by others
3. other-value – both value each other highly
4. course-value – both value the course highly
Since 2007, the author has applied this theory to her classroom teaching and has received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Students describe her courses as motivating, engaging, enjoyable, respectful, and empowering. Based on both theory and personal teaching experiences, Teachers and Students as Co-Learners: Toward a Mutual Value Theory will help readers develop a deeper understanding of learning, re-ignite their enthusiasm, and, most importantly, create powerful teaching and learning in the classroom.
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Chapter 8. Course-value


. 8 .


Course-value refers to the value that students or teachers assign to the course that they are taking or teaching. Specifically, it refers to the degree of worthiness or importance that students or teachers assign to a course. Course-value answers the question, “How worthwhile is this course to me?” and “How much do I value it?” Depending on who the valuer is, course-value can be subdivided into student course-value and teacher course-value.

Table 8.1. Types of course-value.

Course-value is the most important of the four types of values when it comes to education. This is because in the classroom setting, the main purpose is student learning and course-value directly affects students’ learning, behavior and motivation both inside and outside the classroom. The three types of values introduced earlier are the conditions or the foundations of course-value and together they help create high course-value in students. When students have low or no course-value, it is possible that their learning will become passive, reactive, or even superficial. If the students see no value in a course, it is very likely that they will be unwilling to participate or even withdraw from the course. In fact, the reason why we have such a high dropout rate in U.S. schools and why students are not motivated to learn today is because of the low course-value. As Brophy (2008) pointed out, “Teaching for appreciation requires ensuring that what is taught is worth learning” (p. 132). Expectancy...

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