Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Teacher Power Bases

There are four identified types of power that teachers as social agents may use to influence student behaviour.


Figure 1.3 – POINTS OF POWER - There are five bases of power which a teacher can exert over a student. These bases of power are: Referent power, Expert power, Legitimate power, Coercive power and Reward power.

Referent Power When a teacher has referent power students behave as the teacher wishes because they like the teacher as a person. There are two requirements for the effective use of referent power: teachers must perceive that the students like them and teachers must communicate that they care about and like the students.

Expert Power When a teacher has expert power students behave as the teacher wishes because they view that teacher as someone who is good and knowledgeable and who can help them to learn. The student must believe the teacher has both special knowledge and the teaching skills to help them acquire that knowledge.

Legitimate Power
The teacher who seeks to influence students through legitimate power expects students to behave appropriately because the teacher has the legal and formal authority for maintaining appropriate behaviour in the classroom. The teacher must demonstrate through their behaviour that they accept the responsibilities as well as the power inherent in the role of the teacher.

Reward/ Coercive Power Reward/ Coercive is based on the behavioural notions of learning, they both foster teacher control over student behaviour and they are both governed by the same principles of application. There are several requirements for the effective use of this power base. The teacher must be consistent in assigning and withholding rewards and punishment. The teacher must ensure that students see the connection between their behaviour and the reward or punishment. The rewards or punishments actually must be perceived as rewards or punishment by the student.

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