Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Cultivating the Thoughtful Teacher: Identity, Power & Authority


Currently in the United Kingdom, as in many parts of the world, the life of the teacher is perhaps not all it could be. Squeezed by targets, inspections, objectives and outcomes, where is the space for teachers to think about who they are and what they do. Whilst much has been said and written about the teacher and the dynamic of the teacher-student relation, beyond initial teacher training there is little opportunity to better understand ourselves in the difficulties and vulnerabilities of our experience.

In the first of our Cultivating the Thoughtful Teacher courses we will be asking questions about the power and authority of the teacher, including relating professional and pedagogical judgments to the wider context and philosophy of education. Some of these questions will be political, philosophical, sociological, even, perhaps, spiritual. But some will also be deeply personal. Teaching is still a face-to-face occupation with all the risks that this involves. This short course offers the opportunity to pause, and to take time to read and think about who we are as teachers in these questions.

A Certificate of Completion is available at the end of the course.

Course outline

Session 1: Tue 31 Oct

Teachers & Students

Session 2: Tue 7 Nov

The questioning teacher

Session 3: Tue 14 Nov

Teachers are not what they seem to be

Session 4: Tue 21 Nov

A different kind of teacher

Style of study

The course is delivered over 4 weeks online. Seminars last for 1½ hours and will involve reading from short extracts of text as a stimulus for discussion. You will be emailed a course handbook which will include the readings, the weekly outline and questions for discussion. Whilst the course is taught in English, we invite people from all over the world to join us. We encourage an ethos of careful, respectful speaking alongside patient, attentive listening and questioning.



Dr Rebekah Howes


4 weeks

Start date:

Tue 31 Oct

End date:

Tue 21 Nov







“I learnt so much about where so much of our thinking comes from. Thank you, I’ll be back!”.


“They captivated my attention and spiked my interest, and more importantly, always in a way that seemed to involve me”.

– Alexandros, Student

“It was the care and attention they gave to the teaching that made all the difference to me”.

– Iain, Student


Who is the course for?

This course is for any teacher – practising, retired or starting out – who might feel, deep down, that there are educational truths in the difficulties and dilemmas of teaching that go unrecognised in schools, colleges and universites. It is for those educators looking for meaning and fulfimment in their struggles with theory and practice, authority and control, and the kinds of anxieties that are common to so many in educational environments. It is for those interested in discovering more about who they are as a teacher against the pressures and stresses which lead to skepticism, cynicism or resignation. But one doesn’t have to be a teacher to want to understand these issues. If you want to think more about your own power and authority, in personal and/or professional life, then this course will also be of interest.

What level is the course taught at?

The course is taught at undergraduate level but is also suitable for ‘beginnners’ as no previous knowledge of educational theory or philosophy is required. I will take everyone through the texts carefully to aid understanding and discussion.

Do I need prior experience or qualifications to take this course?

No prior reading or knowledge is required.

Do I need to speak in seminars?

Not if you don’t want to, but we ask that cameras be on so that we can be virtual face to virtual face.

What technology do I need?

Tablet/Laptop/Mobile, up-to-date browser, microphone, webcam

Do i need to purchase any books or materials?

The course includes a handbook which will include the weekly outline and readings. This will be emailed to you before the course begins.