As teachers, we have the authority to hold our students accountable for their learning. We do these children no favors by feeding them the answers or rewarding them for less than stellar work.
As someone with authority, we are charged also to show our students how to take on that authority in their own life and toward their own learning. Giving students choice and voice is part of that transference of authority. But:
Only those with authority can convey authority to others.
We must first model that which we wish to convey.
How do you handle your authority? Do you give it away by allowing students to misbehave? Do you hold students accountable for missed work? For making up the work missed when they are absent? Do you hold them responsible for deadlines?
Children know instinctively who is in charge. They see our weaknesses and exploit them. They respect authority– well used, not that which is authoritarian!
Over time, after days and days of class and expectation, they will begin to reflect that which you give them. You may not see it, but others will.
My son was always rebelling against my authority, at home. But when speaking with others, I was told of his joy, his politeness, his willingness to help other adults and friends with the chores he did not willingly do at home.
Model authority. Pass this torch onto your students by expecting them to respect your authority, and you will help the next generation to understand what it means, and how to take up its mantle responsibly.
I know that giving students choices in learning works precisely because we are passing on authority!