EmpowerEd aims to develop bottom up, collaborative interventions that educate, enrich and empower educators. The program considers teachers as knowledge holders and experts and supports sharing and development of contextualized professional practices for pedagogy, leadership and wellbeing. It is based on ideas of problem solving, action research, decentralized training, collaboration, professional learning communities and teacher autonomy.is an educational organization that seeks to support building teachers’ professional practices and identities in ways that facilitate social justice for all students.
Access to quality education remains a problem across the globe. Despite large investments in resources and infrastructure, quality learning remains low. Research suggests that teachers are foundational to learning processes but unfortunately, they are some of the least supported individuals within educational systems. A large part of national budgets is spent on teacher training and enrichment with mixed results. There is an increasing recognition of the importance of ongoing and continuous teacher professional development. Commonly, teacher professional development is conducted through one-off, top down, ‘expert’-centric workshops, while the larger underlying systemic issues related to teacher disempowerment, demotivation, de-professionalization and lack of contextualization of the practices are overlooked. Yet, effective teacher development must be rooted in classroom practices and provide opportunities for reflection and professional collaboration amongst groups of teachers. Additionally, the pandemic has disrupted existent forms of teacher support and training and simultaneously has posed new challenges for teachers.
EmpowerEd takes a positive approach to empowering and training teachers. We currently run two projects: one develops communities of practice while the other develops an mobile app. Both the projects aim to:
We hope to build a community of teachers to engage in exploration of what education mean to them and how they translate their visions into classroom practices. We aim to explore more holistic visions for the development of the whole child as a complete human being.
The community would provide teachers the space and opportunity to reflect on their journeys, share insights, learn from each other, experiment with practices and document effective practices. We envision the community of practice to adapt participatory, bottom-up approaches wherein the participants are regarded as the knowledge holders and experts. The community would create the space and opportunity for the sharing of the expertise held by teachers across schools. Finally, the participants will help contribute to the development of web resource which will host best practices. The communities of practice currently involve
Access to quality education remains especially limited within communities experiencing sociocultural and economic divides including additional marginalization like race, gender, disability, rural/urban, economic, class, caste, and religion. With large class sizes and increasing student diversity, teachers frequently struggle with understanding the varied lived experiences of the students. Amongst the overwhelming requirements of curricula, examinations, and various accountability measures, teachers have limited opportunities to understand, contextualize and personalize their teaching to individual students’ needs. In order to truly bring about equity in education (i.e. education for all), we must ensure quality education for every child (and their individual needs).
The app will draw on research, theory, and contextually relevant lived experiences, while ensuring the focus remains on the realities of classrooms. The immersive and empathetic nature of the app are crucial to the intervention, and these are promoted through rich storytelling and game-based decision making of lived realities of diverse household and educational choices, and innovative classroom practices. This is complemented by active dialogue, reflection, and sharing through discussion forums, reflective questions, and access to a database of successfully implemented teacher practices.
Developing, designing and building a team to develop an application that can reach teachers across the globe.
We aim to prepilot our materials through in person workshops with roughly 50 teachers and thereafter build an app and test it with roughly 10,000 teachers across one block in India (and potentially in atleast one other country).