Based on the work of Wood (1990)
Values and Assumptions
|Questioning and critiquing authority||Obedience|
|Participation in the process of democracy||Follow rules and processes|
5 Principles for Empowering Students (and Teachers)
- Believe in the individual's right and responsibility to participate publicly.
- Have a sense of political efficacy, that is, the knowledge that one's contributions to community life are important.
- Value the principles of democratic life – equality (equity), liberty, and community.
- Know that alternative arrangements to the status quo exist and are worthwhile.
- Gain the requisite intellectual skills to participate in public discourse
- Students will come to believe in the individual's right and responsibility to participate publicly.
- Students will develop a sense of political efficacy (that one's contributions to the community are important).
- Students will value the principles of democratic life: equality, liberty, and community.
- Students will know that alternatives to the status quo exist and are worthwhile.
- Students will gain the intellectual skills to participate in public discourse.
Choice and Control
- Students have choice and control over the curriculum.
- Control over knowledge and information.
- Students gain a sense of their own wisdom: ability to think, make judgments, and act.
- Students have right to order their own world.
- Students have right to equal access to curriculum (no class and political division).
- Classroom community extends beyond the classroom into the surrounding community.
- Teachers maintain a holistic perspective on situational problem solving.
- Enjoy being with students.
- Draw insights from student experiences outside school.
- Hold a sense of mission about the importance of teaching.
- Exhibit love and compassion for students.
- Determine ways to build on student strengths.
- Have a clear sense of meaning and direction and are in the process of revising the same.
- Guide their work with a quest for that which is worthwhile and just.
- Consider the issue of developmental appropriateness as problematic in each new situation.
- Actively engage in self-education.
Barriers to Teacher Empowerment
- State (Provincial) reform mandates
- Standardized tests mandated by state (province) or district (board)
- District curriculum guides
- Required texts
- Uniform instructional pacing
- Absence of adequate staff development program (no long-term investment in development)
- Organization of schools
- Teacher evaluation models
- Professional preparation of teachers which limits exposure to critical issues
Feminist Perspectives of Community vs. Male Domination
- Teacher modeling of thinking as a fallible, but attainable activity.
- Care of and for students.
- Public view of teaching as women's work, but profession is dominated by men.
- Language used by women is viewed as less credible in coed groups.
- Men and boys have been socialized in more dominant and assertive forms of discourse.
- Media reflect stereotypical views of woman teachers, who are either lazy and superficial, etc. or and inflexible "battle-ax."
- How do you see these aspects manifesting in your school or education context?
- What approaches can you think of to overcome these barriers?
- How could these approaches be addressed within the framework of your school?
- Wood, G. H. (1990). Teachers as curriculum workers. In J. T. Sears and J. D. Marshall, Teaching and thinking about curriculum: Critical inquiries (pp. 97-109). New York: Teachers College Press.
© 2006 Jeffrey W. Bloom