Definition: A power differential refers to the inherent disparity of power in a traditional school setting between teacher and student. The teacher is the authority in the room in many ways, and rightfully so; they are responsible for the personal safety of all students, for example. However, teachers who find ways to share power with students can build a culture that supports authentic learning faster. For example, can students share in the decisions about grades and/or design their own final projects? Can students plan and facilitate discussions amongst their peers, asking and answering questions as experts? Especially when grades serve to keep the gate between promotion or not, teachers must be careful that they are not wielding power in a harmful way.

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