Empowering Learners:
A Handbook for the Theory and Practice of
Extra-Classroom Teaching


Table of Contents


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We dedicate this book to our students with gratitude for all they teach us.


Introduction, Alice Lesnick, Senior Lecturer and Acting Director, Bryn Mawr/Haverford Education Program
An explanation of the purposes, premises, and creation of this handbook.

Ethnographic Bifocals, MaryBeth Curtiss, Bryn Mawr College, ‘05
On using new interpretations of ethnographic observation and interviews and combining them with the experience, intuition, and sensibilities of an educator.

Classroom Aides: How Can They Be Most Useful? Elena Darling-Hammond, Haverford College, ‘05
This chapter discusses the trials classroom aides or extra-clasroom teachers may face and ways in which they can address these issues on their own and with assistance.

Teaching is SO Much More Than Lesson Plans and Getting it Right: The Complicated Reality of Emotions, Identity, and Emergent Learning, Heather Davis, Bryn Mawr College, ‘06
An exploration of overwhelmingly real issues that emerge while teaching and how to engage these moments to encourage real learning.

Encouraging Productive Discussion, Susanna Farahat, Bryn Mawr College, ‘05
A framework for skillful facilitation of inquiry-based discussion, including discussion of sensitive topics.

Don’t Let Formal Education Get in the Way of Learning: Incorporating Students’ Perspective to Engage their Academic Learning, Rachel Francois, Bryn Mawr College, ‘07
An exploration of students’ personal and cultural interests and their place in learning.

Social Stigmas and Fears in Art Education, Justine Garcia, Haverford College, '06
An exploration of barriers and openings to empowerment through art education.

Empowering Lessons, Lindsey Giblin, Bryn Mawr College, '06
Reflections on the experience of the Empowering Learners course and its contributions to building a theory of educational empowerment.

The Extra-Classroom Teacher and Self-Assessment, Christina Gubitosa, Bryn Mawr College, ‘06
This chapter suggests a model for the extra-classroom teacher to conceptualize her role in the context of self-assessment. It also examines the utility of three specific forms of self-assessment: the portfolio, self-reflective journals, and audio- or video-taping.

Creating a Productive Space: A Guide to Extra-Classroom Teaching, Allison Jones, Haverford College, ‘06
This guide offers step-by-step suggestions to address some of the challenges extra-classroom teachers face in creating a productive environment for their students.

On Becoming an Effective Praiser, Xuan-Shi, Lim, Bryn Mawr College, ‘06
Using research to inform the practice of offering praise, guidelines included.

Technology as a Medium for Learning, Lauren Maksym, Bryn Mawr College, '08
Observation-based strategies for taking an inquiry-based approach to computer-mediated teaching.

Extra-Classroom Teachers as Role Models and Mentors, Samantha Martinez, Bryn Mawr College, ‘07
Should extra-classroom teachers take on the task of being role models and mentors? This chapter explores the ways students may benefit from all extra-classroom teachers.

So What is an Empowering Learners Partnership, Anyway?, Shelley Nash, Bryn Mawr College, '07
An overview of how to establish a student-staff educational partnership, beginning with how to discern what you have offer to offer others as a teacher.

The Importance of Team Teaching/Collaboration Among Extra-Classroom Teachers, Caitlin O’Keefe, Bryn Mawr College, ‘05
A discussion of the importance of collaboration among and between extra-classroom teachers as a way to dissolve cultures of isolation in education.

Adult Learners: The Promises of Voluntary Education, Amie Claire Raymond, Bryn Mawr College, ‘05
Looks at the motivations adults have for learning and addresses the implication of motivation for facilitating their learning.

Working With Classroom Teachers, Emily Schneider-Krzys, Haverford College, ‘05
Five ways for extra-classroom teachers to build positive relationships with classroom teachers. The title says it all.

(Formerly) Traditional Students in the Revolutionary System, Sky Stegall, Bryn Mawr College, ‘06
On legitimizing an emergent or otherwise nontraditional learning environment for students with traditional backgrounds.

Taking the Time, Becky Strattan, Bryn Mawr College, ‘06
On recognizing that we don’t always know and that we rely on assumptions, and challenging us to start with positive assumptions and then, whenever possible, taking the time to ask questions and find the truth.

Empowering Teaching Assistants by Expanding Duties and Responsibilities, Joanne Townsend, Bryn Mawr College McBride Scholar, ’08
A reconceptualization of the T.A. role to foster mutual agency and creative problem-solving.

Annotated Bibliography
A listing of relevant sources for the continued study of extra-classroom teaching, with introductory notes on the texts’ significance written by the handbook authors.

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