By Teachers, For Teachers
If you are looking to change the dynamic of your classroom, then you will need to use teaching strategies to create empowered learners. These are students who are motivated and confident to perform tasks. They find tasks meaningful, and take ownership of their learning. However, in order to use teaching strategies that create empowered learners, you must first convince students about the value of a task. Once they have value they will find meaning in order to perform it. Students must also be confident in their abilities. Students who struggle or lack conifidence will feel incompetent. It’s important to use teaching strategies that instill a sense of confidence before presenting students with challenging tasks. Here are a few more some practical tips to help you empower your students.
The more you know what students enjoy learning as well as how they learn best, the better that you can empower them to be the best learners they can be. Try conducting a student interest survey. Once you gather the information, then you can structure your topics in accordance to the student interest level. When students are interested in what they are learning about, they become more motivated and engaged in it. For example, if you find that the majority of your students like sports, then you need to incorporate sports into your curriculum.
Use different teaching strategies to provide students with a choice. For example, you can structure your homework assignments to allow students to choose a specific number of problems to complete. Another suggestion is to give students a choice board or a learning menu where they can choose which activities they want to complete. Some teachers (within reason) even go as far as allowing their students to choose how they will complete a test (multiple choice, short answer, etc.). The more choices you offer students, the more empowered they will be to take ownership in their learning.
To help students recognize the impact of their learning as well as how you grade, make them a part of the process. Take a few minutes to have students do a self-evaluation of their own work. This will help make them responsible for their own learning. You can also have students do a peer review, where students evaluate their peers’ work. Also, consider having students evaluate you.
Oftentimes, some students may be able to complete a task with no problem, whereas others may perceive the task as difficult or hard. Prior to planning an activity, it’s wise to consider each individual student’s readiness level. When students deem a concept as too difficult, they will not be empowered and motivated to complete it. However, when they understand the concept, they will be more motivated to complete it.
One of the best ways to empower students is to give them some responsibility. You can do this by creating a classroom environment that promotes it. Help students recognize their part in not only the classroom but in the community. Give them classroom jobs and have them complete service projects that will help impact their community. This will help students see the power they have, which will in fact empower them.
Some students may have goals for themselves that are yet to be shared. Encourage students to talk about these goals. If you find that many of them don’t even have any goals set, then teach them how to set them. Many students are quite driven by their goals, so you can use this as an opportunity to create a way to self-motivate your students.
Invite student input on every aspect of the classroom, from what their homework assignments are or will be, to their classroom activities. By doing so, you are empowering them to be a part of their own learning. Now, you don’t have to take their input when they say they want NO homework, but what you can do is open the discussion to include their preferences on the subject.
Empowering students may feel like quite a task to accomplish. However, by doing so, you may just end up with a classroom filled with motivated and engaged students.
How do you use teaching strategies to empower learners in your classroom? Do you have any tips that you would like to share? Please share your comments in the section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.