The personal learning network for educators
I learned a long time ago that common sense isn’t so common, and when you think something is basic and understood often it isn’t. A perfect example is the power struggle that occurs between teachers and students. Even though common sense would dictate the teacher is the adult and needs to back away and everyone knows that this is a loose loose situation nevertheless at times more often than not teachers get into power struggles with their students. No amount of talking and preaching at times could get teachers to understand how bad these power struggles are. I asked my PLN today for some resources that I could use and share and they came through. I would like to share with you what I have learned from these sources and some of my own ideas.
How does this power struggle?
In most cases not all I believe it stems from the belief that some teachers have that they are the teacher and therefore things must be dome my way and if not I will show you whose boss. Along the same lines many of these teachers can’t or won’t admit that they made a mistake and therefore they have no choice but to exert their power.
Jim Fay who wrote a article found on the Love and Logic web site says the following: “ Unskilled teachers, or those who lack an understanding of the brain’s role in learning, often fear that a student’s lack of motivation in the lesson will rub off on others causing them not to want to learn. These teachers hold to the belief that kid’s don’t want to learn in the first place and must be forced to do so. However off- task behavior has more to do with unfulfilled basic needs ….than a desire not to learn.” Therefore to “force” these kids to learn who are off task the teacher enters into a power struggle to get them to learn.
The next step is to get the teacher to unplug so that there is no more power struggle. I struggle takes two people if one person the adult moves away than the struggle ends.
An excellent article given to me by @MrWejr called “Dodging the Power Struggle Trap: ideas for Teachers by Jim Wright.
This is an excellent article to help teachers disengage from the struggle. Some of the ideas he gives are the following:
Teacher can’t show their anger outwardly and needs to take a deep breath
· Respond in a calm manner
· Keep responses brief and avoid phrases like “ Why do you always interrupt my class”
· Don’t react to a comment made to bait you into a confrontation
He has many other great suggestions and ideas.
I would like to suggest and add that it is perhaps a bit more fundamental but I will admit that this probably falls into that common sense category.
If teachers believed that they are there to facilitate learning and are part of the learning process and there is no “My way or the highway” attitude. Secondly teachers need to understand that students learn in many different ways and often at their own pace even if they are not doing the work right now.
If that was the approach that teachers took then there is no power in the classroom, and the teacher becomes a facilitator and not an authority figure. With no power, there is no struggle.
Maybe it isn’t so common given the teachers that many of us had but today we need to focus on learning and not controlling
My Two Cents