Questions of Compliance or Empowerment?

    This visual is from a great post by Katie Martin titled, “Creating a Learning Orientation Versus a Performance Orientation“:

    Two things here that are quite powerful.  In my 2010 post, “What Makes a Master Teacher“, I talk about the difference between “Learning Goals” and “Performance Goals”, and list that criteria for a “master teacher”:
    6. Focuses on learning goals as opposed to performance goals – Reading “Drive” by Dan Pink, he talks about the difference between performance and learning goals.  A performance goal would be similar to having students wanting to receive an “A” in french where a learning goal would be a student wanting to become fluent in the language.  Many students are smart enough that they know how to meet the objectives of a rubric and still not grow much in their learning.  A master teacher sets the goals based on learning not on receiving a grade.  This type of assessment is not about understanding what a students knows and reporting on it, but it is a tool used for learning.
    These questions that Katie shares are perfect for this type of learning.
    The other aspect here is the shift from compliance to engagement to empowerment.  A key word to know if a student is “empowered” is that they have ownership over their own learning.  In the “performance orientation” questions, everything is focused on what I have to do for someone else, where the “learning orientation” questions are about individual growth and development.  It is a total shift in focus and ownership on the growth moving forward.
    Katie’s question, “Is there another way to solve this problem?”, reminded me of something I recently read on Will Richardson’s blog:
    “Schools place an overwhelming emphasis on teaching children to solve problems correctly, not creatively.” 
    How much creativity could there possibly be when we deem one answer or way, as the only correct path?
    Let’s be honest…there is still a major part of the world that wants people just to be compliant.  People that are developed as self-starters and learn to develop themselves when no one is watching is a shift that needs to happen in our world, no matter if you work for someone else, or yourself.  The second set of questions are much harder to get students toward, especially if they have been “conditioned” in schools. But when did anyone ever say being a great educator was easy?


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