Three Things to Remember About Teaching Powerfully
Make Sure You Model Your Own Learning There is nothing that kills your authority, and that stops a responsible use of
power, than a teacher neglecting to model whatever it is that they're asking learners to do. So if you want to create a
powerful environment—one in which learners are ready to take risks in acquiring skills and knowledge that will change
their lives—you must first make sure you model for them your own engagement with these risky activities.
Intervene in Group Process to Insist on Inclusion Part of students becoming empowered is their realizing that they
have resources and allies who are there to support them and broaden their existing repertoire of skills and practices.
This means that any teacher who thinks student empowerment is important needs to intervene in class to make sure that
ALL students contribute, and all are potential resources for each other's development. You can't assume that students
will act with inclusive goodwill towards each other. Often those who are the most privileged outside the classroom will
automatically reproduce their privilege inside it, unless you prevent this happening. Through exercises such as Circle
of Voices, Chalk Talk, the Critical Incident Questionnaire, and Circular Response, you can insist that students follow
conversational protocols that give everyone a chance to be involved early on in the class.
Watch Out Your Enthusiasm Doesn't Mean You Work Too Fast and Furiously If you are trying to get students to dig into
dominant ideology, and to challenge their long accepted ways of thinking and acting, watch out that you don't make the
basic mistake of working too fast and furiously. Teachers fired by a desire to encourage their students to push back
against dominant ideology sometimes plow ahead in an eagerness to get to the ‘good' stuff of critiquing Capitalism,
White Supremacy, Patriarchy, Heterosexism, and Ableism. But for many students this will probably be the first time they
have been invited into a serious and sustained challenge to accepted ideas. Ignoring students' hesitations, their
fearfulness, and the weight of previous socialization can be disastrous. After all, this kind of learning incurs the
shock of psychic and cultural turbulence. Moving immediately to considering how dominant ideology lives within and
constrains them, or how it causes them to perpetuate all the ‘isms' they may be philosophically against, is something
you need to prepare learners for.