Adult support is most effective when it provides students with a platform to work in areas where they have expressed interest or concern. Adults can help create a foundation for action, offering support from behind the scenes, enabling students to take the lead. The foundation constructed with adult support holds students up while they take charge. The shape, form and scope of the foundation of adult support may change depending on the context and the developmental level of students, diminishing in intensity as students grow in autonomy.
As facilitators and guides, adults are responsible for establishing the parameters of any student-driven initiative or project, foreseeing consequences and creating a container to mitigate risks and ensure student safety. Through this process, we can help to equip and challenge students to take responsibility for the outcomes of their project or initiative. Using our judgment, intuition and knowledge of our students and their developmental needs will be key as we seek to balance autonomy with guidance and support.
Students need both autonomy and adult accompaniment. By offering continuity and by following through with ongoing support from start to finish, we can help ensure students have basic ingredients necessary to pursuing their learning, leading to character development through empowerment.