The open University of Israel (ISRAEL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 5972-5979
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
The study was conducted in the framework of an International project known as “Intel Teach to the Future”, led by the College of education.

The study examines the characteristics of empowerment amongst MTs who participated in the international training program held in Israel under the auspices of the Intel Corporation and conducted by the Achva Academic College. The College trained the MTs at two levels: acquiring the technological and pedagogic tools for the efficient use of computers in learning, and leadership training for introducing the program to additional teachers using the “fan” method. The teacher’s function is to assure an element of applicability in the use of computers in teaching.

The fundamental assumption is that the MTs fulfill a role that entails aspects of leadership and they thus enjoy the feeling of professional empowerment. The focus is on the role component and the relative prominence of this role as part of the personal-professional career. Exploration of the components of a feeling of empowerment as part of the professional developmental process creates awareness and insights into professional aspects of the job (Cochran-Smith and Lytle, 1999; Ben-Peretz, 2001).

The data were collected in two stages: the first, open in-depth interviews with 10 MTs who had completed their training, and intended to define the components of the feeling of empowerment as part of professional development. The second involved designing a questionnaire for distribution amongst all the MTs whom the College trained in the years 2007-2008. Completed questionnaires were received from 120 of the 160 teachers who had participated in the training course. Data analysis of the variables was performed using various statistical tests.

Three hierarchic types of empowerment are apparent from the findings.
1. “Responsive“ empowerment, focusing mainly on the goals within the classroom without creating dynamics of change and notable personal growth.
2. “Encouraging” empowerment, focusing on identification with, and involvement in, the training program and the effectiveness typical of the circles of influence in school.
3. ”Creative” empowerment characterized by high commitment to leading a process of systemic change that emphasize realizing personal strengths that enable systemic vision to create processes of renewal and rebuilding.

Functional and emotional components are identified for each type. The former were found on a hierarchic continuum: as a reaction to fulfilling functions associated with the role in the “responsive” type, as involvement in implementing the training program in the “encouraging” type, and in the “creative” type as high commitment by the teachers as leaders of change in school. The emotional components are also to be found on a hierarchic continuum characterized by the “responsive” type in a feeling of limited capability, in the “encouraging” type in identifying and responsibility for creating circles of influence and in the creative type, in the high feeling of capability and belief in oneself for systemic change.

The contribution of the study is in better understanding the process of training and developing the links for expanding the feeling of empowerment amongst teachers and thereby improving their professional functioning.
empowerment, master teacher, information technology, training program.