Power plays in the classroom

9781118017005_cover.indd

University of St. Thomas professor Stephen D. Brookfield is perhaps the most prolific writer on adult higher education in the U.S. His books use personal experience to flesh out his teaching philosophy. Brookfied’s latest, “Powerful Techniques for Teaching Adults,” takes a look at power dynamics.

“Power is everywhere in the classroom. You can’t avoid it,” he says, from his office in Saint Paul, Minn. “So I thought, instead of writing a book that’s full of these approaches — which is probably what people are expecting — let’s examine how these power dynamics skew the way teaching techniques are experienced by students.”

“Powerful Techniques” touches on a number of concepts Brookfield has written about before: developing critical thinking, facilitating discussion, utilizing the creative arts. But this time the author emphasizes the adjustments he has made to his teaching style due to notions of power and trust.

Though Brookfield is still a believer in student-controlled, self-directed learning, he now introduces the concept with more than a touch of caution.

“If I’m asking people to make decisions about the curriculum, or I’m involving them in setting up the grading system, one of the responses I often get is: ‘You’re playing a game with us and we don’t know what your agenda is,” he explains. “So now I begin by saying, ‘Here are the non-negotiable things  about the class; here are the things I want you to decide; and here are places where we can negotiate.’ By being less naive about us all having the same power, I’m able to gain a student’s trust and build something from there.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

VIDEO: Police seek suspect in molotov cocktail attack…

Police released surveillance video on Wednesday in hopes of tracking down a man who threw a molotov cocktail inside a Brooklyn corner store.

Local

City Council budget asks for 1,000 additional NYPD…

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito unveiled the City Council's budget priorities on Wednesday, including the extra cops for the NYPD at a cost of $94.3 million.

Local

Behind the costumes at the Brooklyn Cosplay Fashion…

Echo Chronum, 17, is a quiet and reserved Brooklyn high school student who often buries herself in her homework. But there is another side to…

Local

Reddit helps man locate missing mother in New…

The Reddit community helped Josh Goldberg find his missing mother on Tuesday.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

Books

A debut novel about fate, love and moving…

Pia Padukone talks about her debut novel, "Where Earth Meets Water."

Movies

Review: 'The Railway Man' is a literal-minded look…

In "The Railway Man," Colin Firth plays a WWII vet suffering from massive trauma acquired from his days as a beaten POW.

NBA

Phil Jackson talked to Steve Kerr, pushes for…

Knicks president Phil Jackson spoke to the media for the first time since firing head coach Mike Woodson on Monday.

MLB

Fantasy baseball: Searching for early season prospects

It’s relatively rare for a mediocre 30-year-old hitter to suddenly go nuts offensively for 162 games. That’s why minor league prospects are so exciting.

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC 'targeting' US international Mix Diskerud

Metro New York has learned Mix Diskerud has drawn “interest” from the expansion MLS side, NYCFC.

NFL

Jets announce they will return to Cortland for…

The tradition of holding camp in Cortland began in 2009 when Rex Ryan wanted to get his Jets away from the distractions of New York City.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."