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Title: Powerful parent educators and powerless parents: The ‘empowerment paradox’ in parent education
Author(s): Lam, Ching Man 
Author(s): Kwong, W.-M.
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Sage
Journal: Journal of Social Work 
Volume: 14
Issue: 2
Start page: 183
End page: 195
In an action research project to develop an empowering mode of parent education in Hong Kong, premised on an empowerment discourse and a social constructionist epistemology, a pilot design was developed through a series of four “reflective seminars”. These seminars engaged parents and professionals in a process of participatory inquiry, three parent groups with Chinese parents, followed by two focused group interviews and six individual interviews to tap participants’ narratives of their learning experience.

Although parent empowerment has been widely advocated in parenting work, the authority of expert knowledge as perceived by participants and the power imbalance between parent educators and parents posed a new “empowerment paradox”. In our attempt to practice a new empowering mode of parent education for local parents was developed. Addressing this “empowerment paradox” requires a paradigm shift from the education model to an approach based on reflexive practice.

Parent educators need to be sensitive to social, cultural, discursive and institutional forces in order to negotiate a power relation that is characterized by collaboration and partnership but is also responsive to parents’ pedagogical expectation in the Chinese cultural context.
DOI: 10.1177/1468017313477779
CIHE Affiliated Publication: No
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