Empower

Quick! Name all the things you need to be able to do to get along with a group of people. I am guessing your list has things like communicate, collaborate, compromise, be flexible, or maybe have fun. Now quick, tell me how did you learn to do these things? Not as quick of an answer I'm guessing. It is really easy to identify what helps a group but much harder to think about helping someone else learn to do that too.

Learners need to take responsibility for themselves so that the group can be successful. As a very basic example, at the end of my group this week, the boys were very squirrelly. Instead of cuing them and reminding them or doing it for them, I simply said "when everyone has their stuff and this space is tidy we can go". Then I stood by the door to remind them that is where we were headed. This way, they each had to solve their individual problem of finding their coats or other items, tidying messes, pushing in chairs, whatever needed to be done. And they had to be the ones to figure this out. I gave them advice if they asked but I didn't tell them exactly what to do. I said things like, "you're almost ready but I still see one problem". It is a very basic illustration of what they all need to learn to do better with other people. They need to learn that they are not going to be told exactly what to do and they also can't just do whatever they want. They have to learn to read the situation to figure out what to do. And almost bigger than learning WHAT to do is helping them see themselves as people who CAN do it. That self knowledge is the key to learners knowing they can take these actions to every other group they encounter. That is the critical empowerment.