Chapter 1: The P.O.W.E.R. Framework

Roselynn Verwoord and Heather Smith

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Partnership requires navigating the difficult terrain of power hierarchies. Building on existing work by critical educational theorists (see Freire 2002; Shor 1992; Giroux 1997), feminist scholars (see Enloe 2004; Sylvester 2009; Zalewski 2006) and Indigenous scholars (see Tuhiwai Smith 1999; Denzin, Lincoln and Tuhiwai Smith 2008; Battiste 2000) we present an educational framework using the word “P.O.W.E.R” that examines some of the dimensions shaping power relations in partnership. We describe the framework, provide questions for each aspect of the framework, and engage in a dialogue about the framework to help readers develop awareness and challenge the reproduction of power hierarchies.

Reflection Questions for Readers

  • How do you currently address sites of power in your partnerships?
  • How might the P.O.W.E.R framework be helpful in your partnerships? How might you introduce it?
  • How would you expand the P.O.W.E.R. framework?