Empowering Students

Recently I read Beth’s first blog post for our class. It really got me thinking about how much influence a teacher can really have over their students. As I did some reading online, I came to the conclusion that while we never have control over the choices that students make, we can always foster an environment and attitude the helps them make better choices.

Here is an example of a school that lets its students have a voice in their education through choice: http://www.connectedprincipals.com/archives/2455

Here is an example of choice within a classroom: http://edupln.ning.com/profiles/blogs/5-ways-to-empower-your

Giving students the power over their education seems like  an ideal situation, when balanced with some teacher-centered approaches. For instance, last semester I had a communications course, which was founded in a discussion based teaching style. Every class we would sit in a circle and discuss our assigned reading. Our professor would use discussion questions to keep us on task and to help us understand certain theories from our text.

A big part of student-centered learning still comes from the teacher though. As the leader of the class, a teacher must still be giving 100% to their students while activities are going on. Helping students with tasks, asking provocative questions, being aware of distracted students, and being responsive in general are all part of giving your students your all. I’ve seen teachers give out grammar, punctuation, or grammar assignments and sit down at their desk while their students work. I think this is a prime example of a teacher not being committed. Without an active and lively teacher, students may wonder why they have to work hard while the teacher is on the computer. In essence a teacher giving 100% can and will encourage their students to give 100% and thus empower them to achieve more.

A question to think about or respond to: is a teacher giving more to their students when using teacher-centered or student-centered learning?

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3 Responses to Empowering Students

  1. larioni119 says:

    I laughed out loud a little bit after reading your post Martin because I literally just blogged about the exact same thing a half hour ago, and hadn’t read yours yet. So when I read this, I felt like I was reading a different version of what I just wrote. I agree with you on basically all of your points. My teaching philosophy is definitely going to center around student centered learning. I don’t believe I would be doing my students (or teaching degree) any justice by standing in front of the classroom lecturing, and treating all of my students the same. Like I said in my post, teachers need to start being in tune with the particular needs of the individual student. They need to stop thinking about teaching classes as a whole, and start thinking about teaching the individual students.

  2. Erin Shaffer says:

    Hey Mighty Martin!

    I really enjoyed reading this post; probably because this is something I’ve thought about how I could use in my future classroom. In response to your question, I think a teacher is giving more to their students when they are using a student-centered learning technique because to me it has always seemed that students get more out of a class when they are the focus than when they have to focus on the teacher for the entire duration of a class period. It gets boring just having to listen to the teacher all the time, so I think using student-centered approaches helps teachers to get their students more engaged in what is happening in the classroom.

  3. ddb166 says:

    Martin, this is a nice post that shows your desire and commitment to be that teacher you talk about who gives 100% all the time. I feel that at times it will be stressful and overwhelming watching over a classroom of 25-30 kids, yet I don’t feel that this is an excuse to isolate or disengage yourself from your students. It is their future you have in your hands, which is a responsibility we must be aware of before we have a classroom of our own. I would like to talk to you sometime about this communications course you had last semester. It sounds like your professor did a great job preparing you for exams, papers, and other assignments, and you came out much more informed on relevant topics than you were before…. right? 🙂

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