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The Wizard of Oz as an Empowering Metaphor


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On her way along the yellow brick road, Dorothy and her companions discover that all they are looking for is within themselves, in the power of the group and the uniqueness of each of its members.

Published in: Education, Technology

The Wizard of Oz as an Empowering Metaphor

  1. 1. The Power of a Metaphor “The Scarecrow, the Tinman, the Lion and me... Empowerment on the Yellow Brick Road” (Adapted from Lundquist, T., 1990, in Readings in Teacher Development by K. Head and P. Taylor, CUP, 1997 Adapted by: Ana Maria Hurtado
  2. 2. The Wizzard of Oz Remember Dorothy’s odyssey to the land of Oz, encountering  curious local characters,  unlikely companions,  fierce opposition and  magical aid as she followed the yellow brick road to find her way back home?
  3. 3. My New Interpretation of Oz My new interpretation of the movie has been like a guide, showing me…  new ways of understanding myself  reinforcing principles of empowerment  strategies that are empowering
  4. 4. The Scarecrow’s Lament “If I only had a brain”, represents my own nagging doubt about my intellectual abilities.
  5. 5. The Tinman “I want to find a heart”   I sometimes wear a stiff protective layer I long to be more open, vulnerable, tender, gentle and sentimental…
  6. 6. The Cowardly Lion Pleas for Courage: a metaphor of:     my lack of confidence my fear of people not liking me my hesitancy to take risks my false bravado in the face of the unknown
  7. 7. The Wicked Witch The Wicked Witch of the West is my controlling, judging, self-denying, nasty self… It keeps me from realising my own goals, my potential, my dreams.
  8. 8. In Glinda, the Good Witch... I am reminded that I have a higher self, which enables me to believe, trust, succeed… I also noticed that Glinda stays out of the way of the learning, providing just enough supportive presence to enable Dorothy and friends to experience their own process.
  9. 9. The Wizzard, an illusion... He is an exaggerated image, a role, a “humbug”, a dazzling audio-visual display of empty power, a puff of smoke and a flash of light ... Just what I often find myself creating in my desire to impress: a well-meaning pretense of perfection and control.
  10. 10. Dorothy: my seeking self In her I recognise:  my seeking self,  the me that wants to find out what is over the rainbow,  to tap my full potential and resourcefulness;  to discover the new people, places and experiences out there.  Like her, I am willing to share the road and defend their rights to reach their goals too. (…)
  11. 11. Who am I? I know that I need to develop an accepting, active relationship with each part of who I am. I am an integrated whole, not just of my parts at any given time.
  12. 12. Like Dorothy and her companions... I am finding that I already have what I am looking for; it has been with me all along.  My mind is intuitive and capable,  my spirit is brave and adventuresome,  my heart is both open and full,  my home and truth wherever I am.
  13. 13. It is all within myself! It is not the Wizard of Oz nor the magic of the witches that will give me my power. It is my own “readiness” to engage the power within myself and within my community of fellow seekers.
  14. 14. First “Oz Principle” The support of COMMUNITY as a source of support, strength, joy and talents for the journey. The true spirit of community can tap the best in us, spark our creativity, multiply our experiences, expand our world vision and our self awareness. (…)
  15. 15. No One Wins Unless Everyone Wins The power of the group  for individual growth  the realisation of personal goals,  develops team spirit, cooperation, and fun.
  16. 16. Second “Oz Principle” The complete ACCEPTANCE OF THE WHOLE PERSON as an INDIVIDUAL We are  knowers and  learners, with rich life experiences and cultural identities to draw from. (...)
  17. 17. How do these two principles help me as an ESL teacher?     I can make more efforts to see the true heart, mind and spirit of each student. I can look beyond appearances and poor self images to what is true, real, innocent, wise, whole and capable in each person. I can accept the physical energies and realities and cultural/ linguistic uniqueness. I can focus on the abundance of knowledge, love, courage, support, truth and willingness to take risks.
  18. 18. A Sense of Community    I can assist the students in forming a sense of community: of fellow journeyers… pioneers in crossing boundary between the known and the unknown. It is not what is similar or different in all of us, but what we do together to create a texture, a harmony, a dance, a rainbow. It is our commitment to each other and to the goal that gives us a readiness to stretch and find our true strength.
  19. 19. I Can Remember the Learner’s World They are a part of the larger community of the learner, the full design of his or her identity.
  20. 20. I Can Provide Challenge & Direction...     Ruby slippers Occasional assistance Medals, diplomas Encouraging words
  21. 21. I Can Trust My Intuition  Support other teachers to trust theirs, so that our       use of texts, lesson plans, materials, human resources and the physical and social environment can be effective, spontaneous and sparked by joy.
  22. 22. I Can Stay Out of the Way... The path of learning is full of obstacles and tests of courage, distractors and mistakes. I can’t shorten the path or eliminate the steps for anyone else. All I can do is offer support and firm belief that the learner will learn best from experience and from peers.
  23. 23. The Learner is Fully Capable Each learner has “always had the power” needed. The power is tapped from within and from the resources of the community.
  24. 24. My goals   These are my goals for empowering my students. These are the messages I am teaching the many selves within ME that are uniting to be empowered.
  25. 25. What can we learn from this?      Do you identify yourself with any of the characters? In what way? What can you learn from this? What particularly touches you? What are your fears? What are your strengths?
  26. 26. THE END Adapted by: Ana Maria Hurtado