Personal Empowerment Training Techniques

An important part of all PRI Educational Development Company training is the concept of empowerment. The word empowerment is used a lot but most people don’t really understand the concepts.

At the core empowerment is listening. Active, intense listening on many levels is key to knowing what any person is experiencing. Of course, perception makes it impossible for us to fully know another’s experience correctly, but if we listen to what they are expressing we have our best opportunity to help them.

Too often education becomes an authoritarian environment. If teachers do not learn to listen, they are talking at their students instead of guiding their students to acquiring understanding. Additionally, since empowerment is about the convergence of listening, boundaries and mission, practicing empowerment techniques teaches students to learn to do the same for their clients.

The helping professions are particularly vulnerable to pedestal thinking: The tendency for clients to put practitioners on pedestals or students to put teachers on pedestals. The underlying function of doing this is to abdicate responsibility for decisions and actions. If the practitioner or teacher is on a pedestal, the client or student can blame bad outcomes on the advice from the teacher.

On the other hand, if the client or student are taught that they are in control and accountable for their actions, then the responsibility for outcomes is returned to the appropriate place. The opposite is that the person on the pedestal becomes the perpetrator and the client or student becomes the victim. This is subtle and although it’s not malicious, the ego or unhealed parts of both parties are easily drawn into the dance.

Understanding the dynamics of disempowerment is the first step. The second is to understand the remedy and learn to identify the language triggers that signal that there’s an imbalance. It’s also important to know how to change the language to bring everyone back into the appropriate and healthy relationship.

The materials are designed to support the creation of an empowering educational environment that also teaches students to assimilate the lesson as part of their training. There may be cases of students who are unable to achieve the outcome at first but at least the seeds have been planted as part of the training. And the teachers who fully understand the concept will benefit from enjoying teaching more and not get caught in dysfunctional patterns that consume their energy and lead to a disruptive classroom environment.

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