Teachers’ role has changed. We need to build self-worth and self-esteem, help students deal with cyber-bullying. We need to help students have a voice in a way that will be heard and respected. To engage in activities in ways that will enhance their learning. We don’t know what they will need to learn in the future, but we know they will need to problem solve and persevere in their work with others in their group: by coming to a conclusion, by learning to agree and disagree. Those skills will always be needed.
Focusing not only on the product (test results, essays, assignments, etc.), but on the process of learning, enables students to develop skills related to character development and many others. For example, skill acquisition occurs as we interact with students, answering their questions through discussion that encourages reflective learning. We may teach the concept of brainstorming as we incite our students to generate creative options and find their own answers. We can structure classroom time to increase opportunities for collaboration with peers. We can create free and open classroom spaces where students can engage physically, mentally and emotionally with learning.
Whether we are aware of it or not, as educators we are always engaged in a kind of indirect pedagogy as well. We teach students skills through those we model, such as communication, assertiveness and expression of empathy and emotions. Students learn skills from us as we respond to their questions and concerns. Our receptivity to problems students bring and our willingness to support them in problem solving around the small issues they experience in daily life promote the acquisition of skills that can lead to larger scale student initiatives.
We promote skill acquisition as well when we provide empowerment-based feedback that is student-centred and non-judgmental by being specific and realistic. Offering students feedback that is positive and optimistic while communicating our belief in their capacity to succeed or change is another crucial element of empowerment-based feedback.