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The Essence of Powerful Teaching

, University of St. Thomas, St Paul, MN, United States

IJAVET Volume 4, Number 3, ISSN 1947-8607 Publisher: IGI Global


Empowering learners and using powerful techniques are prominent elements in the discourse of adult and vocational education. But what constitutes the elements of what might be considered as powerful teaching? This paper begins by examining the way educators talk about power and then proposes four elements that lie at the heart of powerful teaching; understanding how power dynamics intersect with adult educational approaches, supporting empowerment, helping learners understand how power works, and rendering teacher power transparent. The paper uses the work of Baptiste, Marcuse and Hooks to explore some of the problems involved in adult teachers attempting to work in the democratic manner endorsed by the adult education tradition. It concludes by acknowledging the practical and ontological contradictions of teachers trying to balance their prescriptive agendas with a learner-centered approach.


Brookfield, S. (2013). The Essence of Powerful Teaching. International Journal of Adult Vocational Education and Technology, 4(3), 67-76. IGI Global. Retrieved January 19, 2020 from .