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  • Writer's pictureLaura Sandefer


The Acton learner driven experience solidifies only when there is an understanding of the role of the adult in the studio. Our adults are called guides instead of teachers. This simple word choice is to signify our purpose: to constantly push power to children so they learn to claim their true agency as individuals with invaluable potential and worth.

But what does this really mean?

I realized it would be best for you to hear it from the learners themselves. So today I asked 8 Eagles ranging in age from 10-18 years to share their thoughts on the question, “What is the role of a guide?” Here are their answers. Enjoy!

“Parents/guides should take the time to listen to the Eagle and offer them feedback but they should not be doing any of the work for the Eagle. There is a very delicate balance.” – Reid

“To use a metaphor, an adult at Acton paves the roads, sets up the guardrails, and responds to emergencies/accidents. The learners drive on that road and choose their direction.” – Sam S.

“Guides hold up a mirror for you, just to say what they observe you doing. They also provide guardrails. They set a boundary. After all of that, we take over and hold up our studio.” – Sam C.

“The role of a guide is to guide all of the heroes in Acton to help them find their calling, but mentor them, too. They help hold up a mirror to all heroes and keep Eagles safe along the way.” – Luling

“The role of a guide is to make sure everything is safe in the studio and to help the Eagles find their call to adventure.” – Aven

“The role of a guide should be to write curriculum, hold up a mirror and be available for safety situations.” – Luca

“Ideally, the role of an adult at Acton is to do whatever’s necessitated by the fact that there are some things like safety and graduation requirements that someone outside of the Eagles has to be responsible for. Other than that, their only job should be to equip Eagles to do everything else. For example, an adult can make sure we have a working fire extinguisher, but it’s up to us to make sure the studios are clean.” – Ian

“I think that the role of a guide is to hold up a mirror to the studio, and make sure the studio is safe with guardrails, and to have exciting challenges for us to be a part of. Like when you were our guide, it was in a pandemic, but we all stayed healthy, and there were fun and exciting games like chocolate river. And Ms. Becca, I remember, even when problems came up in the studio, she didn’t switch into teacher mode, she let us work through it and encouraged us.” – Margot

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