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Q&A: Empowerment is Giving Students a Say

Demetrius Ball presents at the 2018 Transformative Leadership Summit

TLS Logo 2Demetrius Ball will join more than 40 leading presenters for the 2018 Transformative Leadership Summit, an online PD event taking place from July 30 to August 7. The third annual summit will focus on empowerment for administrators, teachers, students, and parents. Educators can attend each day’s sessions online, free of charge, and can also purchase an all-access pass to get exclusive bonuses and archived content. Visit TransformativeLeadershipSummit.com to register.

Q: In the Transformative Leadership Summit, you are presenting on the topic of Empowering Students. How do you define student empowerment? What is the simplest way educators can begin empowering their students on day one of the school year?

Demetrius Ball: Empowerment is giving students a say in their educational experience.  Students deserve a say in what and how they learn, but we have an educational system that sets boundaries and limits for students with little regard for students and their wants and needs.

Q: What pedagogical trends support and provide opportunities for students to define and guide their own learning experiences? Are there any you see as sustainable long-term trends?

DB: Project-based learning, mindfulness, meditation, social-emotional learning, vocational training, restorative practices, and standards-based grading go further in meeting the needs of the whole child than our traditional pedagogical strategies.  I think all of the above are sustainable, but just like many things in education, we often do not spend the time necessary to fully develop a way of life before we default to what is easiest.

Q: How do you believe the role of a teacher has changed since you began your career? What changes do you hope all teachers will make, in order to reach students better, based on what you’ve learned?

DB: The perception was that teachers knew everything, but we don’t, and when we create experiential learning environments where everyone is a learner, then I think students and teachers alike benefit.  This creates a partnership, a connectedness, a community that will encourage students to become lifelong learners.

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