Finished reading yesterday and thought a lot about his distinction between authority and autonomy within a workshop. (Much joy at having a chapter called The Workshop).
This is the question we grapple with all the time. You want kids to become autonomous but you know that they’re not always ready. If you turn them loose too soon, you lose them, and it’s project-based learning going wrong. If you assume too much authority, it pretty quickly devolves into school and disengagement. We spend lots of time in PD discussing the nature of authority and how it’s earned; as teachers in a project-based school we have a number of our own projects that should serve as a model and as a source of authority.
I’m lazy, so I’m not typing this entire quote, but here it is:
I’ll use these two paragraphs in our opening week as try and figure out what rules the school sets, what expectations I have based on my authority as a teacher/project makes, and how they can begin to establish “legitimate authority in the flesh.”
Richard Sennett, The Craftsman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), 54.