This is one of my favorite quotes on education from my friend, AJ Juliani:
We talked about this recently on my podcast, and I discuss thinking about shifting from moving to engagement to empowerment.
When I first started teaching, my focus was to make sure students were really interested in the way that I presented information, but then realized, what happens if they don’t have someone doing that for them? Was their interest level in the content dependent solely on my ability to present it to them, or was I helping them learn to create opportunities or learning for themselves?
I used to see engagement and empowerment as two separate things, but now see them as a continuum. The easiest way I can explain it is this; if students are engaged, it doesn’t mean they are empowered, but if they are empowered, they are definitely engaged.
So now, I have been thinking about this topic in relation to adults.
Have schools pushed “compliance” on the adults for years and then, when the pandemic happened, asked them to “innovate” and be resilient in the face of adversity? It is hard to move from “do as I say” to “you can figure this out” in such a short period of time.
Of course, not all schools fit into this mold, but it does happen.
As we head into a new school year, if the goal is to “empower students” so that they learn the skills to own their own learning in authentic and meaningful ways (to them), it is imperative that there are opportunities that becomes the norm for the adults in the schools as well.