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Power and Professionalism: Using Your Power With Awareness and Skill

The heart of ethics is human relationships. Learning to use your power with awareness and skill will be the focus of Kathy Ginn's course  "Power and Professionalism: Exploring Ethics as Right Use of Power" at the AMTA 2013 Schools Summit this February. Read a Q & A with Kathy below to learn more about this course... and why you should attend. 

Why is understanding one’s personal & professional power important in the student/teacher relationship?

All life involves relationships and all relationships, especially those of significance, involve power, including the teacher/student relationship. One’s relationship with power and how we use our power is central to how we manage classroom dynamics. Power is often misunderstood. The result of this misunderstanding is often a misuse of professional power. When teachers begin to understand and connect their personal relationship with power, along with the multiple dynamics of the power differential, they can begin to use it wisely and skillfully. The ability to positively influence students is at the heart of teaching. I have come to understand that who we are has the greatest potential for harming or helping our students, not necessarily what we teach.

How can a teacher know if he/she is crossing a student’s personal boundary?

Preventive medicine is important in life as well as in the classroom. How a teacher sets the stage with students is crucial to fostering clarity and accountability in the classroom. It is important to discuss expectations (both the teacher's and students') and classroom boundaries to create a written accountability agreement. Being present and tracking what's happening inside the classroom is crucial. Another helpful skill is tracking for impact and intention, and then having the ability to move into relationship repair. And, if all else fails, ask if you are crossing a student's personal boundary. Good intentions are not always enough. 

What are some steps teachers can take to ensure they are managing the classroom with a state of presence?

This is a great question and a vast topic of discussion. Following are a few steps I would offer:
    a. Be a student of one's self.
    b. Define your role as a teacher; then practice that.  
    c. Understand what gives your role as teacher integrity; then practice that.
    d. Know how you can positively influence your students; then practice that.
    e. Hold an awareness of self and your students while teaching.

Join Kathy for her moving and engaging two-hour session Power and Professionalism: Using Your Power With Awareness and Skill at the AMTA 2013 Schools Summit. Explore the multiple dynamics of professional power in the classroom, how to use power with awareness and skill, and what to do when your impact is different than your intention. This short presentation promises to touch the heart of all those who understand both the pain and joy of teaching. 

Ginn has been active in the field of massage therapy and bodywork since 1991 and is a well-respected teacher who is best known for her course work in Ethics as Right Use of Power. She is a member of the Right Use of Power Teacher’s Guild and serves on the Right Use of Power advisory board. Additionally, Ginn served with the AMTA teacher development committee, offers ethics and leadership consulting to the Wisconsin AMTA board, and also is an ethics and business consultant to the salon and spa community.

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