Classrooms across America are in need of empowered students. He or she presents a great example of leadership and academic progressiveness among peers. But any student with focus and a sense of responsibility can claim empowerment.
In school districts across the country, classrooms are becoming increasingly chaotic and too overwhelming to be managed alone by a single teacher. The single classroom teacher needs serous assistance in moving a classroom forward. In fact, according to latest trends, teachers are leaving the profession because of bad kids.
Toxic behavior such as deliberate defiance, disrespect, and disruption wears on a teacher’s energy and confidence, resulting in inferior teaching and classroom management. Day after day teachers are confronted with the same degree of insubordination. They get little support from administrators, regardless of how much they complain. Eventually, frustration sits in. Passion for teaching dwindles. Exhaustion takes over. Teachers leave for more comfortable pastures.
However, the solution to such stressful classroom environment is the empowered student. The more of these type of students you have in a classroom, the more highly effective the teaching and learning will be.
Therefore, at the start of the every school year, the classroom teacher’s main goal, when it comes to student engagement, should be to develop the empowered student.
Selecting candidates for empowerment begins with observing all the students within your classroom. Gather information on each. Do this for several school days until you get a feeling for all your new students.
Target those students who show the following 7 principles:
Focus- candidates for empowerment are focused on his or her academics and learning. When others are playing around, these students are tuned in on completing their seat work and other educational responsibility.
Discipline-a disciplined student never needs redirection. He understands that the teacher job is the teach and his job is to learn. A well-disciplined student has the power to encourage others to get in alignments with the rules and expectations of the classroom, simply by being a role-model to his unfocused peers.
Individualization-an empowered students is independent of the opinions and wishes of his classmates. He isn’t there to be liked, even though he welcomes every friend. Students who embrace individualization can be trusted to address the issues of classmate without fear verbal or attitudinal repercussions.
Achievement -a student who has the potential to become empowered gets things done. She goes beyond mere seat work, takes responsibility for independent work, and asks the teacher for extra homework.
Connectivity-empowered students have a knack for connecting positively with the fellow classmates on every level. Their peers often look up to them. In the classroom, they have a way of activating a sense of excitement.
Communication-a student who are likely to become empowered are great communicators. They are the first to volunteer to read or share in the front of the class.
Decision-making-empowered students are aware of the struggles in education. They care about their academics as well as those of their peers. Many highly responsible students desire to participate in the education process by offering creative ideas for instructional considerations.
An educators first priority should be to make highly responsible students class presidents and vice presidents, empowering them to participate in classroom decision-making, rule creation, and peer mediation issues.
The Impact of Student Empowerment in the Classroom
Empowered students will have a remarkable influence over their classmates. Respect comes from their delight and ability to be a role model. They appreciate the opportunity regardless of the challenges they may receive from jealous peers.
The responsibility of the empowered student is to help create a learning environment where academic productivity is foremost. Working alongside the student, the classroom teacher supports the efforts of the class presidents, especially when it comes to redirection and focus.
Several students may express jealousy or insubordination toward the class president. Therefore, he or she must be strong enough to refuse to be peer driven. He or she must possess enough resiliency to rebound from the impact of hostile attitudes. Working along with the teacher to resolve toxic behaviors, the empowered student eventually gains respect.
Empowered students cannot do anything without receiving authority from classroom teacher. All class presidents, group leaders, transition monitors are under the felicitation of the teacher. No teacher should allow a student to impose his or her own authority. This would be catastrophic for teacher’s sense of respect and overall command.
Allowing a student to take over the classroom will greatly minimize your ability to guide and manage a classroom. All students must understand that you are the one who carries the big stick and that no one else can take that from you.
Make sure your empowered students realize where their responsibility come from.
Types of Delegated Responsibilities for Appointed Students
Empowered students can take over many classroom responsibilities, including:
Classroom presidents or representatives
Morning Meeting Activators
Group Discussion Leaders
Classroom presidents have the power to facilitate problem solving or question and answer sessions regarding issues that may have risen during the course of a school day. This meeting usually happens when things become overly chaotic and when the atmosphere for regular classroom teaching is far from optimum.
Sometimes, rather than go on with a lesson, a teacher must stop and think about what is going on in the classroom. Teaching must be postponed until the issues are resolved. An ideal learning environment requires 80% of the students to be on one accord.
Teachers can often give this job to the empowered student while facilitating the process. Usually peers can come to some type of agreement on their own. I have seen this occur over and over again, not only in the classroom I have taught but also within the classroom of my comrades.
The Millennium minded classroom of the 21st century will go a long way with the delegated assistance of empowered students.
The bottom line is a heavily peer influenced classroom will enable a classroom teacher to concentrate more on teaching rather than having to take on the responsibility of managing every aspect of the classroom. Giving highly responsible students power to control various daily academic routines, challenges, and functions will reduce stress and burnout.