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  • Nadia Ballantine & Carol Lynch

Engagement is Not Enough


There is one word hidden in the New Zealand Curriculum that I believe educators are not paying enough attention to. You will find it on page 9 under the heading – High Expectations. The word………‘empowers’.

‘The curriculum supports and empowers all students to learn & achieve personal excellence, regardless of their individual circumstances.’

We know the importance of ensuring that the learners in our schools are not simply compliant. We know that engagement is crucial to learner’s motivation. We know that voice and choice are the prerequisites to engagement, but have we gone further to really understand empowerment and what this means for learners & teachers?

Innovative Learning Practice (ILP) has at its heart the development of learners who are agentic & self-directed- learners who are empowered.

I wonder how far we have gone in our schools to identify empowerment as a key driver? Many schools may be stuck at the ‘engagement’ stage without realising there is another step- empowering learners to really & truly be confident, connected, actively involved lifelong learners. Maybe you are at a loss to know what this looks like in action?

As you move into term two reflect on where you are going in your school. Can you answer these questions?

  • Where are you on the pathway to empowerment?

  • Is it on your radar? Do you talk about it?

  • Have you defined what it is & how it occurs in your school?

  • What evidence would you and your staff gather to demonstrate that your students are not only engaged but empowered? Once you know what evidence would support empowerment, you can then go about planning actions to ensure it is happening in your school.

ILP is all about empowerment. Lets get people talking about it. Let’s put it out there- engagement is not enough.

At edLead Consulting we use quotes as tools to challenge & stimulate thought & talk. We also provide interactive staff sessions to help kick-start your journey towards empowerment. Try the quotes below from The Innovators Mindset text by George Couros to get started on empowerment.

Our job as educators and leaders is not to control others but to bring out the best in them. Engagement is not enough. We need to create the same opportunities for our students’ as we would want for ourselves.

George Couros- The Innovators Mindset

If you had to choose between compliant, engaged, or empowered, which word would you want to define your learners?

George Couros - The Innovators Mindset –

#Agency