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25 January 2005: Who's in Charge Here? (3 of 4)
The second reason we should love teaching by empowering is because it makes our job easier. Empower students to solve their own problems by training them in conflict management and communication skills. Then, take Referee out of your job description. Give students their choice about how the room is decorated and with what, then assist them. Teach students to check their work with a calculator, dictionary or (gasp!) teacher’s manual. Allow them (after training) to work in collaborative partnerships. Invite them to help make decisions and solve problems about instruction, management, and curriculum. The hard part about empowering is that we have to trust our students. We have to trust them to make good decisions, to care about learning, and to take responsibility. Of course, if we’re not already dedicated to teaching them these things, what will allow us to teach them anything else?