Raising the motivation and self-esteem of all learners by creating a climate for all talents to flourish: Developing empowerment for life
AbstractThe issues discussed in this article have arisen from 12 in-depth case studies of 'successful' schools in England, which were carried out during the academic year 2006/2007. However the practices that have emerged from these case studies are universally applicable when one analyses the factors that enabled learners to develop self-empowerment, sustained motivation, high self-esteem, and, vitally, the power to face life and career challenges. In terms of 'success', the case studies of the schools were analysed according to the values developed through the ethos of the schools, together with a range of strategies for personalising learning, and
providing students with open opportunities for 'living' learning experiences. A random sample of students who were interviewed expressed their sense of empowerment which flourished when they could articulate what they already knew, could negotiate what they needed to learn, and could discuss how they would approach their learning. Essentially the role of the
teacher changed: the role became not only that of a mentor with life experience, but also that of a co-learner extending personal knowledge and solving problems alongside the learner. The learners were engaged in real-life problem-solving that revolved around their personal and community problems and challenges, and their own life aspirations. In particular, the students were engaged at an early age with regard to career aspirations and possibilities. This article also considers the essential qualities of leadership and democratic participation that are vital in developing all 'living' learning; in making decisions; in ensuring flexibility of organisation; and the key importance of monitoring student development to ensure continuity and progression.