Making Student Empowerment the Curriculum

Just came across this TED talk and it is “contagious” in the words of Kiran Bir Sethi the founder of the Riverside school in India. It talks about the schools efforts to transform itself into a studio space that is centred on the concept of empowering kids to move from helplessness to interdependence. A great talk with passion and interesting examples of how kids are changing the lives and ideas of the people that they had originally seen as their superiors and in some cases, masters.

I then had to look up the school and they have a great webpage with truly rich and applicable resources that I still have to unpack a bit but there is lots there and I encourage people to check it out.

The most impactful part of the whole thing was their simple but powerful approach that seems to permeate all that they do.

learning process_web

I love the flow and approach of this guiding principle and think that it should be applied to all classes in all countries. Think about it:

  1. AWARE

This is the stage where you can insert content, still in a project based environment. Again the key to education has to change from deciding and delivering what our students need to know, to instilling the skill of how to find things out and giving the perspective on why it is important. An attentive and dynamic teacher can guide their students here and help them to discover and utilize the tools at their disposal to find out what they need so as to be aware.


This is the key stage as this is where the independence comes and I think where the biggest mind shift comes for educators of all types. The relinquishing of control can be tough and comes from a good place as the adults in the equation see the need for them to protect and take responsibility for their students but we need to see that spoon feeding them is not going to serve them well in the end.


This is the most mind blowing stage for me. The understanding that to truly change, we cannot do it alone. The need for interdependence is fantastic and so in keeping with the NeXt Lesson and the competency of COLLABORATION. It really answers the how when it comes to social change. One person cannot do it alone and that is where a lot of initiatives fall and where traditional schooling can fail. The concept of an Independent Study seems so damaging when I think of it in this way, or at least lower on the spectrum of development. We need to enable students to be independent but not of each other!

CLARITY MOMENT HERE!!!! (literally as I am writing!!!)

We have to make our students independent of us, and interdependent  with each other!! What an amazing three step process for overall educational change.

Now I need to find out more about this school and the specifics of how they do this. What is the process, what are the resources that they leverage etc? I have to dig into this school to see what and how they do it, but I am super excited.

This entry was posted in Instructional Leadership, Project NeXt, The NeXt Lesson and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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