It is such a pleasure to work with educators, and not only try to share things they can do in the classroom, but to help them understand the opportunities for learning that exist in our world today. I always try to have a mix of practical and theoretical in my workshops; it should not be only one or the other.
With one group in particular that I had worked with several times, their growth was amazing over time. Not just in their abilities, but in their thinking. On what was our third day together, we were talking about something to do with google apps for education, and one person in the group asked if I could go “step-by-step” through the process. As the one leading the workshop, my response was, “No…figure it out yourself.”
It was not said in a condescending way, but in a way to challenge. If I am not there to lead the workshop, would the learning stop? If it does, then I didn’t do a very good job.
So what happened? She and others, connected, learned, and found exactly what they wanted to know, plus figured out how to find it. The satisfaction on their faces, and in their demeanour, was amazing to watch. So much more than if I would have just answered what they asked. This is the shift from engagement to empowerment. I asked them to figure it out on their own because I knew they could. They needed to take ownership over their learning.
This is one of my favourite quotes from Will Richardson:
It doesn’t have to be all of the time, as collaboration with one another is crucial, but let’s find those opportunities to encourage other educators to find, figure out, and create the information themselves. We do not want people to just learn stuff, but to become learners. It is not only more empowering, but much more satisfying.