The Shift from Engaging Students to Empowering Learners

[music] We often talk about what it means to move from compliance to engagement It’s the idea of creating an environment where students want to learn rather than have to learn, but if we want students to be creative, self-directed learners, we need to move beyond student engagement and into empowerment. But this requires some paradigm shifts. That’s right. We are going to be talking shift. Here’s what I mean. The empowered classroom is a shift from giving choices, to inspiring possibilities. It’s a shift from making the subject interesting, into tapping into the student’s interest. When you go from saying, “You must learn this,” to asking “What do you want to learn?” It’s a shift from taking assessments to assessing your own learning. An iterative process full of mistakes that ultimately lead to success. It’s a shift from the teacher asking all the questions, to the students asking their own questions. Where they chase the inquiry process and take learning off-road. It’s a shift from uncritical consuming to critical consuming and creating. Here students move from critical consuming to inspiration to creativity. Where they use the design process to launch their work to the world. It’s a shift from differentiating instruction to personalizing learning. And it’s a shift from rigid to adjustable systems so that students own the process. They can set their own pace choose their own formats and decide what resources they want to use to accomplish their goals. It’s a shift in mindset from compliance to Self-Direction. In other words, it’s a shift towards student ownership. And when that happens our students become the creative critical thinkers who change the world.

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