Making The Shift from Student Engagement to Student Empowerment
In a great posts, John Spencer talks about ways to empower or students in the classroom. Teachers need to move a step further from engagement to empowerment. We have to create an environment where students want to learn rather than having to learn. To achieve this, Spencer suggests seven shifts that we can implement in our classrooms:
- From giving choices to inspiring possibilities
- From “making the subject interesting” to “tapping into student interests.”
- From taking assessments assessing your own learning.
- From answering the teacher’s questions to asking their own questions
- From uncritical consuming to critical consuming and creating
- From rigid to adjustable systems
- It’s a shift in mindset from compliance to self-direction
Reading this post I thought about the different ways that music directors are guilty of creating compliance in their ensembles. Band directors and music programs terms to value tradition and the "this is how things have always been done" mentality - this can create a lot of problems for our students. There are a number of ways that directors can create an empowering environment in their ensembles. Students can be given possibilities for research in topics relating to the repertoire being played, anything from the composers we're playing, related pieces, time period, etc. Students could be given the opportunity to pick a piece to play at a concert, such as an arrangement of a popular tune. Students should also be given the task of assessing their performers. The easiest way would be to record performances and have students listen to them and have them do an assessment to encourage them to be critical consumers.