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Balance of power
Asmaa Mohammed Abdu El_Rahman
Eman Ahmed Hussein
Leila Mohammed Ibrahim
The balance of power
• According to theories of radical and feminist pedagogy and
researches related to self-regulated learners , students’
motivation, confidence and enthusiasm for learning, teachers
control the processes through and by which they learn.
• Teachers authority is so taken for granted that most of us are no
longer aware of the extent to which we learn.
Why students don’t have authority
and power in learning?
• 1. they can not be trusted to make decisions about learning.
• 2. they lack intellectual maturity.
• 3. they do not have good study skills.
• 4. they are not well prepared.
• 5. take courses to take grades.
• 6. do not care about learning.
How the balance of power
• In order to achieve balance in power, we have to understand
the role of power in classrooms.
• We have to create a learner-centered environment . Students
should have a positive impact on learning process.
Power is shared
• When teaching is learner-centered , power is shared rather
than transferred wholesale.
• Faculty and school still make key decisions about learning , but
they no longer make all decisions and not always without
Some objection on power-sharing
• They assume that:
• 1. students end up running the class and teaching themselves.
• 2.students leave the teacher with no viable role in the
• 3. this philosophy ultimately dispenses with the teacher.
• 4. the goal is to equip students with learning skills so
sophisticated that they can teach themselves.
Unethical transfer of power
• A teacher violates his legitimate power and authority if he
allows entry-level students in his required survey of sociology
course to select the textbook . These students do not have
experience or knowledge of the discipline to make a good
An appropriate sharing of the
• Imagine if the teacher surveyed a variety of textbooks in the
light of his goals and objectives for the course and his
understanding of students learning needs and then selected
five books that would accomplish his aims and meet student
Gradual transfer of power and
control is very important
• 1. teacher should give students the chance to offer input or
• 2.letting students make decisions in one or two areas of study.
• 3.letting students decide which assignments they will
complete in the course with some direction from teacher side.
The benefits of power sharing :
Power sharing has wonderful effects on three elements of the educational
1. Learners or students .
2. Teachers .
3. The environment in the classroom .
For learners :
They begin to exercise their power tentatively and anxiously , so they
need feedback and reinforcement to move forward with more
They will be engaged , involved , connected with course and they are
motivated to work harder.
They can able to apply the content to their own communications as
they understand themselves as communicators and see
communication happening all around them .
For teachers :
They no longer struggle with passive , uninterested , and disconnected
Students’ energy motivates and drives the teacher to prepare more ,
risk more , and be rewarded more by the sheer (completely) pleasure of
Power sharing avoids adversarial relationship between the teachers and
their students , because the students no longer feel powerless and they
can resist the teachers’ requirements .
For the environment :
There is a much stronger sense that the class belongs to everyone .
For example : when something is ineffective , students are much more
willing than in the past to fix it .
Policies and practices that redistribute
power sharing :
• It means how we can achieve greater equality of power sharing by
organizing four areas of potential decision making for learners including
1. Course Activities and Assignment Decisions .
2. Course Policy Decisions .
3. Course Content Decisions .
4. Evaluation Activities.
Course Activities and assignments
Students can be involved in decision making about course activities
and assignments in a number of ways at different levels of decision
Students can pick assignments they like with little insight as at how
these choices might reflect learning preferences.
As a result this will give students an authentic role in making decisions
about their assignments to create a context or framework that
positively influences the kinds of decisions they make .
For example : Assignments that it have date and deadline to be finished
So , it will have a significant impact on who works in the course and
how hard they are willing to work and complete a great number of
Course Policy Decisions :
Students can be involved in decision making about course policies like
setting the participation policy in the beginning public speaking course.
Course policy decisions should be more explicit and having a feedback
opportunity in which students learn how to make more constructive
For example : The teacher use a round – robin technique to class working
on policy ..
1) Students are placed in groups of four , and each student is given a
different question about participation like the following ;
• Should students lose participation credit for engaging in some kinds of
• What behaviors and how much credit should they lose ?
2) Each student asks every other person in the group his or her question
, take notes on the answers , and respond to the questions that have
been given to others.
3) All the persons with the same questions form a new group in which
they share responses collected and look for common themes and
4) Then the teacher responds a memo to each group that raises
questions and asks for elaborations .
5) The rest of time comparing and contrasting the responses and trying
to a draft of participation policy , and then the teacher and his
students review it more and more and vote on whether to accept it .
The benefits of course policy decisions
• Students will be much more aware of participation on a daily basis .
• Students will see that various behaviors constitute participation like
*Answering questions asked by the teacher and other students .
*Asking questions of the teacher and other students and commenting
on the questions and answers of other students .
• As a result students will assess involvement in discussion with their
teachers and classmates .
Course content decisions
• a set of content decisions we already allow students to make:
• We let them choose:
• speech topics
• select subject for art work
• write papers on topics of their own choosing.
• 1-The teacher could identify an appropriate set of readings on each of
• 2-the students begin with a short ,informal paper
• 3-after writing the paper and sharing it with small
group of fellow students, the group gets the instructors-created list of
• 4- together, the group uses that list and their papers to construct a
prioritized list of course topics.
• 5 – finally , from them the teacher selects the topics that will be covered
in the course.
• Johnson 2000 , involves students in the
development of the entire course syllabus
• He explains his motivation :
• “One principle of learning which has always been
important to me as a learner , and as a teacher
has application here. Students are very much
turned on when they are involved in making the
decisions that affect them .the converse is
especially poignant . they are turned off when
someone else makes their decisions for them.”
Questionsthat emerge whenthe balanceof
• The most fundamental one
• “can you design a set of course activities and assignments that
responsibly give student more control over the decisions that
affect their learning ?
• How much power is enough
• How much decision making might be required to motivate one
student vs how much it takes to motivate the class?
How much freedom they can
• The amount of decision making it takes to motivate students
must be weighed against their intellectual maturity and ability
to operate in conditions that give more freedom at the same
time they also require more responsibility .
How much freedom they can
• 1-Most students arrive in college classrooms having
made almost no decisions about learning.
• 2-Many students are missing the solid study skills
that would inform good learning decisions.
• 3-With little experience making decisions and
lacking the sophisticated study skills that
characterize effective learners ,the chance that the
student will make poor learning choices is high.
• 4-Not all the students in the class are at the same
level of intellectual maturity.
When do teachers compromise
• Most students are years , if not decades , away from having
the skills and intellectual maturity necessary to assume
responsibility for their own learning .
• There are areas where teachers need to retain some control ,
perhaps significant control .
To finish up
• Learner - centered instruction involves a reallocation of power
in the class room .
• It requires that faculty give students some control over those
learning processes that directly affect them .