Teacher empowerment: leaving the twilight zone

This plenary talk looks at the concept of teacher empowerment and how it may be facilitated.

80 minutes

About the talk

Over the past few years and in different fields, the word 'empowerment' has become increasingly used in talks, papers and social media. Education, of course, has not escaped this trend and the concept is frequently mentioned as a desired outcome of any educational activity and teachers, among the lucky ones to benefit from it. However, and interestingly, the notion of empowerment is usually not defined and hardly discussed in depth. Is then empowerment such a common concept these days that needs no clarification? Or, is it that its complexity deters any further analysis? I believe the persistent calls for the empowerment of teachers demand a closer study of the process and a critical appraisal of its occurrence.

In this talk, we examine the concept of empowerment and 'teacher empowerment' more specifically. I draw on general education literature to present the different dimensions of teacher empowerment and what research findings suggest regarding its role in students' achievement. We zoom in on English language teaching and look at how empowered English teachers claim to feel by sharing stories of empowerment and disempowerment. In doing so, I invite you to reflect on enabling features, hindering factors and paradoxes identified to ultimately think of ways forward if we 'truly' wish teacher empowerment to leave the twilight zone.


Submitted by Fireseed on Sat, 04/06/2019 - 17:58

I couldn't agree more that research is empowering - and sharing it at IATEFL is even better!

Submitted by P J Reddy on Sat, 04/06/2019 - 11:08

Thank you Paula Rebollledo for your IATEFL plenary talk on teacher empowerment. The voices of the classroom teacher need to heard. They are the right people to say what work and not work in the classroom. As you rightly mentioned the teachers are used and abused by many and not getting the recognition. You are the true representation of teachers across the world.

Submitted by guangjiaoyuan on Tue, 04/02/2019 - 15:15

we would also like to read the report of the talk to know more about the spirit of the concept, so that we can apply the theory into our day to day teaching practice. Would the speaker mind receiving private emails regarding teacher empowerment from readers who cannot attend the meeting personally like myself?

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