We all know that it pays off to invest in relations with students. We are aware that they must learn the hard art of making choices. This, in turn, calls for a change in teaching methods and in the ways we assess our students. Only if these elements change can we create a pupil-
friendly educational space.
So we know and we realize, but the question we all keep asking is – how to start. Our answer is: by withdrawing from power, by transferring power to students. By giving up our tools of
institutional control and domination over our pupils. By treating them as independent
subjects, and opening up to their needs and expectations.
Stay with us and you will see that withdrawing from power does make a lot of sense.
TRANSFER OF POWER I
Introduction to the scope of our course concerning the TRANSFER OF / WITHDRAWAL FROM POWER. Who rules at school? The school head? The teacher? An abstract institutional vision? Whatever your answer might be, POWER determines syllabuses, ways of acting and the learning pace. It sets limits on the pupils, imposing tight constrictions. Can this perspective be reversed?
The art of choice is one of the hardest skills to develop. There are no simple and obvious choices, as we all learn in our lives. Paradoxically, at school we often try to make pupils believe that there is just one correct way to achieve our target or solve the given problem. Can we change this approach?
Most school assessment systems evaluate pupils according to a ready-made scale. The spectre of behaviourism is haunting our schools, conditioning and stimulating pupils by awarding them As or Es, pluses and minuses, stickers with smiling or sad faces. This way of assessing the acquired knowledge and skills does not create an atmosphere favourable to learning.
Space counts. The school space, where children spend dozens of hours a week, should encourage many types of activity, be comfortable, attractive, functional and safe. Most classroom designs do not support learning. Instead, they create communicative barriers between teacher and pupil and between peers. School space organisation upholds institutional hierarchies and is similar worldwide.