Power Dynamics in Cross-Cultural Educational Settings
The three-hour training aims to address the issue of power dynamics in a cross-cultural educational setting, whether it is a classroom setting or an educational institution. The classroom setting is a place where the exchange of knowledge occurs or is handed down from teacher to student. The idea is to empower students through the dissemination of information, therefore, encouraging them to leave the educational setting and "empower" others through their new academic knowledge. Bell hooks notes that upon entering her first classroom as a professor, she was "deeply afraid of using authority in a way that would perpetuate class elitism or other forms of domination." Foucault believed that "power relations are formed in all relations where differences exist." Educational settings can often be spaces where differences in race, ethnicity, gender, ideology and so forth are in high volume. The issue of domination or power, we felt, is extremely prevalent in educational settings because of the dynamic that exists between the student and teacher. We wanted to look at the issue of power on this level and then extend it into the larger institutions of education and encourage people to even challenge their ideas about the power that does or does not exist within this environment. Our intention is to move participants through the experiential learning cycle in an attempt to allow participants to take ownership of their learning. Through a power line-up game, walk through the power quote gallery and a case study of a challenging educational situation in Kenya, participants will be able to engage on an intellectual and emotional level. By creating training norms and a comfortable atmosphere, participants will be able to move through the cycle and challenge their personal definitions and assumptions around power and create a list of tools for approaching power. The training can be risky for new trainers, as it addresses philosophical and abstract questions and concepts.