Powerful Techniques for Teaching Adults

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9781118017005: Powerful Techniques for Teaching Adults

Praise for Powerful Techniques for Teaching Adults

"Stephen Brookfield has used his gifts for clear thinking and lucid writing to produce this theoretically informed, immensely practical book on how the dynamics of power and adult teaching intersect. It should be required reading for everyone who teaches adults." ??—Ronald M. Cervero, professor and associate dean, College of Education, University of Georgia

"In one of his most personal, emotionally candid, and accessible books yet, Stephen Brookfield shares his passionate and indispensable commitment to empowering the learner both inside and outside the formal classroom, offering a trove of exercises, stories, and practical teaching tips to confront the hidden curriculum of power head on. For any teacher, coach, supervisor, or mentor who cares deeply about adult learning, here's a true gem from one of our great contemporary adult educators." —Laurent A. Parks Daloz, senior fellow, The Whidbey Institute

"This book is not about increasing your power as a teacher — it is about the dynamics of power in the adult classroom, challenging power structures, and the techniques teachers can use to empower learners. Brookfield's uses the lens of 'power' to distill, for the practitioner, ??a lifetime's work of scholarly and practical engagement with adult teaching and learning.' —Mark Tennant, emeritus professor, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

"Brookfield writes in a nice easy-to-read autobiographical style. He explains and fully discusses many good techniques for teaching in an effective and humane manner. Everybody who teaches, whether they teach children or adults, will benefit from reading this interesting book and learning from his lifetime of experience as a teacher."

—Peter Jarvis, emeritus professor of continuing education, University of Surrey

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Review:

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.

From the Inside Flap:

Powerful Techniques for Teaching Adults

One of the enduring realities teachers of adults face is negotiating the power dynamics of their classrooms. Teachers have positional power and authority but can feel powerless in the face of student resistance or noncompliance. How can teachers create classrooms that empower learners? When is a teacher's power used responsibly, and when is it abused? How can teachers ensure that power inequities that exist outside the classroom are not automatically reproduced inside them? These are some of the questions Stephen Brookfield explores in his new book.

In this practical manual, full of tested exercises, methods, and activities, Brookfield explains how teaching critical thinking, using discussion, and fostering self-directed learning can create the conditions for student empowerment and how teachers can democratize their classrooms. He reveals why adults often resist teaching that encourages them to challenge dominant power and describes how teachers can set a tone to help students push back against ideological manipulation. Powerful Techniques for Teaching Adults explores the connections between emotion, intuition, and power and reviews different ways for instructors to survive the emotional demands of powerful teaching.

Although power is the theme that runs through the book, it is primarily a collection of teaching techniques, described in Brookfield's down-to-earth, accessible style, which covers these important areas:

  • Exercises to help adults to think critically
  • Activities to promote adult self-directed learning
  • Ways to create more democratic adult classrooms
  • Techniques to teach adults about power
  • Empowering adults using the creative arts

Powerful Techniques for Teaching Adults is sure to become a classic in the field and a well-thumbed guide for adult educators seeking to teach powerfully.

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