Power Dynamic in Learning: Analytical Essay
Power relation among children, parents or caregivers teachers and their assistant has been a vital issue in the social system, particularly the learning environment. Various matters lead to the power dynamism involving these components. Since parents, teachers, and their assistants and children are essential people in the learning process, their relation regarding respect leads to the success of the learning process. Barron dwells on power dynamism with regards to the difference in race and position in the learning environment. Issues such as culture and ethnicity have great influence ion power relationships among people in the learning spectrum. The power dynamic between children and teacher, parent and teacher, and teacher and teacher assistant are examples of power dynamism in the learning process.
Power Dynamic between Children and Teacher
The teacher’s power is always visible at the beginning of a learning process or course sessions due to the authority that an instructor possesses over children. According to Barron, language difference might lead to the transition in this kind of power (Barron, 2009). A teacher from a majority group might develop a wrong attitude towards children from the minority group due to the difference in culture and language. Such a situation leads to the power dynamism between a teacher and the learners who in this case, is the child in a classroom setting. The bilingual teacher would be perceived as a dominant factor in the classroom or any other learning environment. He or she can manipulate the minority group to their advantage (Barron, 2009). According to Barron, difference in language between the white indigenous children and the children from Pakistani origin led to power dominance by the staff of the foreign children. Additionally, since Pakistani children were majorly Muslims, the staff perceived their religion as minor leading to advantage and influence over them.
The cognitive advantage among pupils with bilingual qualities creates an environment where they can dominate. Increased language awareness, ideal flexibility in thought, internal language inspection are some of the abilities that create a power transition between the teacher and a child (Innovation at (A’oga Fa’a Samoa, 2005). Since language and culture dominance act as a perfect bridge between a teacher and a child, understanding the issues mentioned above leads to the power shift. It also places a child in the cycle of dominance in a learning system and process, but the teacher power still supersedes the children’s influence. In the technological front, the teacher has the dominant ability since the power shift is not as easy as such at that stage (Sidky, 2017). Children such as preschoolers and those entering early child hold learning centers must seek guidance from the teacher leading to a teacher’s dominance over children in the learning setting.
Power Dynamic between Parent and Teacher
A teacher from a majority group feels secure and aggressive about working in an environment controlled by parents from marginalized groups. A teacher must work with parents from the marginalized group regarding culture, language, and socio-economic activities to feel safe in such an environment (Iyer & Reese, 2013). Such a situation leads to unequal power between a parent and a teacher since an instructor will have influence and voice of reasoning in deciding on the learning process. Teacher diversity also determines the level of retention in the environment (Iyer & Reese, 2013). Teachers of white decent are deemed as a majority. In such a situation, the parents have less power over them, and their roles changes due to societal influence. Parents from the marginalized community will feel they have less authority over the roles of the teachers due to the difference in the cultural capital. Such a situation leads to the unequal power between parents and teachers.[bookmark: _gjdgxs]Parents also have a perfect way of realizing the strength of students and motivating teachers. Such a process leads to equal power since parents and teachers will form a collaborative aspect to help children pursue their endeavors (Taylor, 2015). The situation explains a positive power dynamism since the parents and teachers have definite roles that lead to the lack of constant chaos and misunderstanding between these two parties. A learning environment where there are equal power and various parties is for the good of the subject matter, and it is bound to succeed. Parents who relish confidence and cultural capital regardless of the difference in culture create an environment where teachers can thrive irrespective of the difference in culture and language applied (Taylor, 2015). The point explains the lack of enough influence parents have over the teachers due to the difference in religion, language, and culture. For instance, the Pakistani parents did not influence the roles of teachers in England as Barrow asserts. The minority aspect reigned since teachers failed to take into account the difference in religion and language of the Pakistani parent (Barron, 2009). The teachers used the difference as a weapon to mistreat immigrant parents by enforcing a different religion and language on them.
Power Dynamic between Teacher and Teacher Assistant
The power struggle and lack of communication have been the stumbling blocks of the delivery of quality education to learners by the teacher assistant. They do not receive payment for work done outside their time in class (Tickle, 2016). The situation leads to the dominancy by the teachers over them regarding economic, social, and cultural components. Power dynamism arises when such TAs receive quality training in handling students and gain favor from learners. Teaching assistants have enjoyed several privileges in modern education, explaining the shift in power. Opportunities such as taking part in the learning planning process, allowing teaching assistant to comprehend the goals of a lesson in prior and rotation in sharing of roles in the classroom with the teacher aid in the positive power shift (Tickle, 2016). A teacher who allows teacher assistant to interact freely with children irrespective of their difference in ability, culture, and economic aspect is prone to succeed in the learning process.
The staff is a vital component in the development of a child in the learning process. Since teaching assistant is a part of the staff, his or her role in the classroom should be equal even though the teacher dominates the classroom session. A teacher might lack the knowledge about specific cultural values such as the Maori cultural aspect. An assistant with such an understanding of the culture will come in and take over the mantle in teaching students in such a situation (Tangaere, 2006). A teacher assistant would assume the role of a supposed teacher. The circumstance culminates to an ideal explanation of power dynamism between the teacher and his or her assistant. Every developmental and learning stage that a teacher and his or her assistant takes part in vital and create a balance in responsibilities and learning process (Tangaere, 2006). Positive power dynamism is a perfect procedure that the teacher and his or her assistant must, therefore, abide by to realize an ideal learning process and environment.
Bridging the Power Disparity
The power struggle between a teacher and students can be halted through the introduction of a higher expectation during the beginning of a course. A student must achieve a top set grade to feel dominant since the acquisition of knowledge and comprehension of different languages and cultures creates a power struggle between the teacher and the student (Gee, 2008). The set standard might be attainable by the students to avoid a negative attitude towards learning. Active listening to students’ plights also aids in bridging power struggle. A child might be suffering from the oppression of the family. He or she might derive a bad attitude emanating from such abuse. Additionally, a student might feel dominant due to his or her majority background. A teacher must, therefore, listen to such students and helps to secure or adopt a positive attitude through counseling.
Ideal communication between the teacher and the teacher assistant and quality training bridges the gap between power struggles. An assistant teacher must understand and adhere to the set policies. In the contemporary world, there is an increased need for incorporating assistant teachers in the learning process. Such ideas aid in solving issues of power struggle, such as wrong content delivery. An assistant teacher will feel part of the learning process after seeking such solutions. Equal treatment of teachers by parents irrespective of the difference in culture, language, and economic status will bridge the gap. Teachers will feel appreciated and continue with their noble work with an assurance of motivation (Gee, 2008). Parents who value teachers regardless of ethnic difference are the agents of bridging the gap of power struggles.
Power dynamism is a prospect that is vital in the learning process. It can either leads to negativities such as unnecessary commotion between teachers, students, assistant teachers, and parents. Cultural, language, and socioeconomic features are some of the issues that lead to the power struggle. To bridge this gap of power struggles, perfect communication, high expectation, counseling, and appreciating everybody in the learning cycle is the right actions to undertake. As Barron asserts, culture, language capital are the vital components that determine the level of power dynamism and its impacts on society. Power dynamism is, therefore, an essential issue in the learning process.
- Barron, I. (2009). “Illegitimate participation? A group of young minority ethnic children’s experiences of early childhood education”. Pedagogy, Culture & Society Vol. 17, No. 3, October 2009, 341–354. Routledge. Taylor and Francis Group.
- Gee, J. P. (2008). “A sociocultural perspective on opportunity to learn.” P1: KXF 9780521880459c04 CUUS083/Moss 978 0 521 88045 9.
- Innovation at A’oga Fa’a Samoa. (2005). “Innovation at A’oga Fa’a Samoa”. A’oga Fa’a Samoa teachers, management, and COl Focus Group.
- Iyer, R., & Reese, M. (2013). “Ensuring student success: Establishing a community of practice for culturally and linguistically diverse preservice teachers.” Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(3). http://dx.doi.org/10.14221/ajte.2013v38n3.4
- Sidky, G. (2017). “The Power Game: Power Dynamics between the Teacher and the Students in a Graduate Seminar.” English Language Teaching, 10(5), 179. doi:10.5539/elt.v10n5p179
- Tangaere, A. R. (2006). “Collaboration and Te Kōhanga Reo. Children issues”. Vol., 10, no. 2.
- Taylor, S. (2015). ‘Use of Role and Power in Parent-Teacher Relationships: Perceptions from the Parent Perspective’ Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2324. 10.15760/etd.2321. https://www.mobt3ath.com/uplode/book/book-38307.pdf
- Tickle, L. (2016, October 31). “Teachers and TAs: how to create the perfect partnership.” Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2016/oct/21/teaching-assistants-perfect-partnership-pupil-support