Power and Authority in Teaching and Learning


For my article I have chosen one that looks at the authority and power of a teacher in the classroom. It talks about how important it is for the teacher to initially establish a sense of authority at the beginning of the course; so the students know who is in charge and know better than to challenge the teachers authority. It challenges you to think if it is best for the teacher to have all the authority in the class, or if it could be beneficial for students to hold some of the power. It is all about finding a happy medium between to much authority and to little. Where does one simply draw the line?
I personally  think that a teacher shouldn’t feel threatened to make it known that he/she holds all the authority in the class on the first day of the course. I think if a teacher has this attitude he/she simply doesn’t have the faith and trust in her students and with children being great judges of emotion they will since that you have a fear of being overruled and take advantage of that. All the teacher needs is confidence and pride and students will read that and not gain the sense that they could overrule the teacher. Students do not necessarily need rules to follow but someone who is confident in what they are teaching and someone who holds the reins of the class with confidence and leadership.

I think the best way to understand power and authority is to understand that you may have the power to drive a car but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have the authority to do so.


2 thoughts on “Power and Authority in Teaching and Learning

  1. misswaldbauer says:

    This article spoke to something that a lot of teachers struggle with, which is the balance between too structured of a classroom and one that is not structured enough. As much as I say that I know exactly what I want my classroom to be like or how I want it to function, there will always be other factors that could change this. This is why I want to build strong relationships with my students, so that my classroom can still function when other variables are put into the equation. It is important that students know they need to pay attention, do their work quietly and so on. However, I think that there is more than one way of going about this. Lessons do not have to be the standard model of teaching where teachers hold all of the authority and the students do as they say. Personally, I think that students learn better when they can facilitate some of their own learning. If there are foundational relationships, then the students will be able to contribute to their learning without the classroom going to chaos. I believe that I can achieve this balance throughout my classroom without being a strict, stern teacher. Procedures are definitely important throughout a classroom, but I want to make those procedures with my students so that they can contribute to what procedures they feel are important. I want to do this with my students because I feel that these procedures or ‘rules’ will be followed more efficiently if my students have a say in what they are, rather than the procedures being forced upon them. As I am heading into my teaching career, I have come to realize that I am far less scared of not knowing everything than I used to be. I thought that as an educator I had to be the keeper of the knowledge, but I have come to realize that it is impossible to know every answer to every question. My perspective has changed on this because I want my classroom to be an environment of constant learning, and I’m not scared to dive into this learning with my students because they will be more interested in learning if they see that I am learning alongside them. I also found it very interesting when this article stated that the classroom focus sometimes shifts to teaching instead of learning, because as educators our students and their learning should be our main focus but often times, this is not the case. Authority and power can go to a teachers head and they become similar to a bully. I had a teacher like this and I will forever remember him and his teaching ways, I constantly felt discouraged in this class and pulled away from the learning. This is something that I will carry with me and always be conscious of because I do not want my students to feel this way.


  2. debothjenna says:

    Hey there! I just wanted to start off by saying that this article poses a great point. As you mentioned in your summary, is it better to be a strict teacher or a flexible. I think that throughout our teaching careers we will always walk the fine line between these two. I know that if we are able to get to know our students and give them the power to have some responsibility in their schooling and their actions then we as teachers will be able to release some of our rigidness, but keep students respect in the classroom. These questions that you pose are wonderful and I know that this article will be a great reminder of why it is important to look at your role in the classroom to ensure that you let student have a voice and a choice while still keeping the classroom on track towards learning. Thanks for find this wonderful article that I can add to my teaching toolbox to refer to later!


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