A step towards autonomy in learning
In an earlier Post I wrote about the six dimensions of engagement. Autonomy in learning was one of them. The overall idea is straightforward but there may be insights in exploring specific actions that can be taken to bring this concept to life.
When a teacher asks a student to do something it sets up a certain dynamic - a power relationship. This way of teaching has its place but is it the only way of teaching that has a place? In the type of relationship that this interaction sets up the student is somehow less than the teacher and dependent on him or her.
On the other hand, when the student comes up with an idea for a project or an essay and with ideas about how to go about doing it, a different dynamic is created. It is more equal, not necessarily in terms of knowledge but rather in terms on the way in which dialogue takes place. I think that that type of interaction also has a legitimate place in learning and can lead to a more powerful relationship and a better learning experience.
And it can do something much more. The fact that the student feels able to tell the teacher what he or she needs does something important for the student. I would describe it as liberating stuff that has gotten stuck within the student. The new relationship then takes on an aspect of removing blockages the student experiences - either knowingly or unknowingly. The student may experience a somewhat different perspective on the world and may be more willing to look more confidently out into the world and at the same time into themselves.