In my last post I described the result of giving my students more freedom. The more freedom I gave them, the harder it became to grade them. So I stopped grading them — giving them even more freedom. Here is what the director Steven Soderbergh said in a recent interview about giving actors freedom:
INTERVIEWER You’ve talked at length about giving actors as much freedom as possible. That’s resulted in a number of performances that have launched, revived, and revitalized careers. In the case of Jennifer Lopez in Out of Sight, you’re responsible for her only good film performance.
SODERBERGH It’s not that I never say no; I’m just not trying to control them. I’m looking to amplify and showcase whatever it is about them that I find compelling.
I assume that each of my students wants to learn something (related to the class). I try to make use of that desire rather than push them to learn something else. Whatever my students are good at, I want to make them better at. Here is an old post of mine about how this way of teaching resembles the way good managers manage.