How empowerment through education functions and when it comes into conflict with itself
Empowerment is not a novel idea; it has existed for a very long time. Indeed, I learned about (and came to adore) the concept of “empowerment” during my training as a community development worker and a youth worker.
Realizing one’s power, empowerment includes developing one’s confidence and skills, fostering relationships and a feeling of community, and addressing problems that might act as obstacles to charge, such as poverty, violence, mental health conditions, and substance abuse.
I wholeheartedly accepted this idea as a new community worker. It made sense and spoke to my romantic, optimistic beliefs about humankind. See, I have faith in humanity. I like people, but I also think that people can overcome almost any challenge they may encounter. More specifically, I think groups have incredible strength when members work together in collectives. Almost always, the whole is larger than the parts taken separately.
Getting groups to surmount their innate tendency to reject prospective new members is a challenge for community workers. Community growth is this.
Therefore, we use various strategies to help individuals enter groups, acquire new skills, obtain acceptance within the group, and overcome any potential barriers. I use education because it has had the most significant personal impact on my existence. But I also believe that formal education—not to be mistaken with “schooling”—is a natural means of empowering people.
I now instruct. I give individuals the skills they need to both develop their communities and work as professionals in other underserved and marginalized communities. I work in a primarily structured educational setting. It must be official because we must both “assess” and “teach” in addition to “teaching.” In a way, we are the “key masters.” We control whether or not our students can advance to the next stage.
For me, fundamental disagreements between the underlying beliefs cause conflict. The student either passes or fails in a formal situation. Every participant in community growth “succeeds” simply by participating. Individuals are already “successful” by definition because they actively choose to take part.
There may also be other disputes. In community development, we accept the idea of diversity and acknowledge the hidden power of individual differences. Because diversity is the antithesis of uniformity and we need to evaluate each pupil using a variety of uniform measurements, diversity can be seen as a problem in a formal evaluation process.
So how do I resolve these disagreements? I want to start by acknowledging that my pupils come to me looking for explanations and insights. My students frequently have experienced hardship and want to “make meaning” of, use, and reconcile those experiences.
They desire to use their negative situations to help others through positive outcomes. We go into great detail about a continuum of professional growth. We discuss how they may have been victims before becoming survivors, how they came to play the part of helper, how they decided to enroll in school, and how they will eventually advance to a helping profession. I also discuss how professionals use professional limits, models, and approaches as they progress along the continuum.
Second, I engage in numerous pursuits. I like it when my students participate actively in a class by chatting, laughing, and interacting.
After giving this problem much thought, I’ve decided on just three things I actually “give” my students. I provide them with knowledge and wisdom. Since the information is merely data and is primarily accessible online, it is not incredibly unique. Though they are also accessible online, most people prefer someone to point them in their direction and explain how they function. The insights are the result of the introduction of models and theories.
Thirdly, I offer my students a chance to do something. I’ll commence by setting up the environment. I like arranging tables and seats in extensive circles and small clusters to create “board rooms” or meeting spaces. Clear rules and norms are also necessary for a healthy environment. We do that jointly and fundamentally understand what constitutes acceptance, participation, and respect for one another. We discuss privacy and trust because much of our discussion can be delicate.
I then plan the encounter. What do I want them to “experience,” I think to myself. It frequently involves increasing consciousness. Role plays, theatrical makeup kits, situations, games, and other activities are all used effectively. The majority of my students leave each session feeling more emotionally aware. They will work with individuals who require them to be sensitive and understanding, so I need them to be able to “feel.” They will frequently work in environments that counter their values, so I need to know they can handle these conflicts safely, safeguard themselves, and still feel like they are making a difference.
In my classroom, all of these factors foster empowerment. As the group accepts them and supports their participation and diverse skill set, my students learn new things (with new knowledge), develop new skills (and insights), and build their confidence.
Even though they are challenging on some levels, the experiences we have helped to solidify my bonds with them and the students as a whole. These strong bonds will continue after the school year. Previous pupils have described their time with us as being a crucial period in their lives.
I am fortunate in that my pupils frequently credit me with creating this fantastic experience. I know all I do is generate the opportunity; the group, the knowledge and insights, and the relationships create the background.
They enroll in the course to learn how to work with communities and make an impact, but the empowerment process takes them in a different direction. Do the distinctions between formal education and empowerment still cause me to feel conflicted? Not any longer, no.
The path to empowerment is through knowledge. Education and empowerment work together to promote human progress. And I can accommodate any differences because I firmly believe in the need for human development.
As an adult and community educator, Gayle has experience dealing with youth and communities. Gayle has training as a teacher, a degree in community development, and a diploma in community work (youth work).
Gayle is passionate about educating people and assisting them in achieving achievement. Gayle resides in a remote area of South Australia. Gayle uses her website as a digital library for community and social work students. Her website address is.
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