University of Zaragoza (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 5335-5342
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.2231
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
Empowering is an adjective defined (Collins dictionary) as “having qualities that give a person or a group of people the means to take more control of their lives and become stronger and more independent”. While at the beginning was applied to poor or discriminated people or minorities, ‘empowering’ and the term ‘empowerment’ was very used later in Business management field (business dictionary, 2018) as “a practice of sharing information, rewards, and power with employees so that they can take initiative and make decisions to solve problems and improve service and performance. Empowerment is based on the idea that giving employees skills, resources, authority, opportunity, motivation, as well holding them responsible and accountable for outcomes of their actions, will contribute to their competence and satisfaction”.

The idea is very interesting, as the goal is to work more fluent and the reward for the user is to be more confident and competent. In Education, the term was imported with a similar meaning: the students can get increasingly greater levels of success. Student-centered, critical thinking and democratic pedagogy for studying are basic ideas in ‘empowering’ and education (Shor, 2012). The main basement is the whole education community (teacher, education center, parents, policymakers…) must give every student the opportunity to achieve success. Advances in methodologies and technologies can help and boost the ‘empowering’ goals. For example, the Flipped Learning strategy can be very useful as students may work at their different possibilities to achieve goals. But it is the technology than has improved so much at the point that it can be close to disruptive. Applications to make videos, presentations, virtual reality, augmented reality, live tests and forms, collaborative work… There are plenty of apps and new ones being now developed that supports and really boosts the teacher and students work in an ‘empowering’ way.
One critical view of the ‘empowering’ term in education is that all or many of the meanings been involved are already worked from many years by teachers and pedagogies without calling them ‘empowering’. In fact, Flipped Learning can clearly ‘empower’ the students with no reference to this word.

Also one very important fact is the ‘empowering’ practice is well accomplished when students are enough conscious, mature, and motivated. If the alumni are not in that way it is really difficult for the teacher to deal with the methodology and of course, the results are not suitable and useful (for the students). Moreover, the experience may result in regression. Only the time will say if ‘empowering’ is a useful reality in general education, a term exclusively limited to social issues, or a mere other ‘fashion’ word that will be overpassed by others.

[1] Business dictionary, “empowerment” definition. (July 20, 2018). Retrieved from
Shor, I. (2012). Empowering education: critical thinking for social change [Kindle version]. Retrieved from
Flipped Teaching, Empowering, Blended Learning.