What’s the difference between these two choices?
- Choosing whether you’re going to do a PowerPoint or a poster
- Choosing to respond to a bad grade with a different approach
The first one is a freedom which releases commitment and energy.
The second one requires the commitment of energy which will lead to freedom.
Modern education simultaneously aims to give children more choice, whilst, paradoxically, removing from them the worry that responsibility for whatever position they find themselves in is their problem. We want children to follow what they want to do, whilst comforting them that they are the unfortunate [subtext: ‘helpless’] victims of circumstance.
Yes, we could ALL look at the situations we are in and feel like helpless victims – realising that the combination of genetics and circumstance has determined just about everything in our lives…
And yet…… agency …… whatever that actually is……. can allow us to turn all circumstances around through this concept we call ‘choice’.
It could be said that, whether or not there is the philosophical entity we call ‘free will’, the belief of any individual that they have agency to choose what happens next to them is the SINGLE MOST POWERFUL means to affect a change in anybody’s life.
Indeed, letting children believe that, actually, the buck stops with them to make their lives better could be the biggest help-up they could ever receive.
This is doubly important, because, in their adult lives, they WILL be the ones held accountable for what they do – victims of genetics and upbringing or not.
Of course… the skill of the teacher and the parent, is in ensuring that the burden of this responsibility never quite gets too much….