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ERIC Number: EJ896457
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
Motivating Students through Power and Choice
Simmons, Amber M.; Page, Melissa
English Journal, v100 n1 p65-69 Sep 2010
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "our own experience instructs us that the secret of Education lies in respecting the pupil. It is not for you to choose what he should know, what he shall do." As teachers of American Literature, the authors admire Emerson's faith in the individual and find Thoreau's resistance to conformity an act of daring bravery, and as they think about these enlightened men and their ideals in relation to students, they wonder: If given the opportunity, would individual freedom and choice motivate students in the 21st-century classroom? If allowed the time to adjust to such power and guidance on how to use it, they think that individual freedom would motivate students to achieve scholastic excellence and embrace personal empowerment. Teacher control in the classroom has constructed an environment in which they no longer trust students, and they do not trust themselves. They have faith that students want to learn despite the incredible resistance they all face in the classroom. Students aren't resisting learning; they're resisting the whole context in which they are taught. This resistance has encouraged the authors to examine how changing the power structure in classrooms can encourage creativity and motivate students to have power over their learning. Describing an assignment for which groups of students designed and assessed projects on Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," a high school teacher and a doctoral student show how curricular freedom can empower students. (Contains 1 figure.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A