Dr. Paula Rebolledo Interview – IATEFL Liverpool 2 April, 2019 & IATEFL Chile XIV International Conference – 23 July, 2016

Red Hot Chile TEFL:

An evidence-based approach with local flavour

Classroom practices can be influenced by knowledge, experiences, sometimes intuition but less often by research-based evidence. If such evidence is accessible to teachers it is usually incomprehensible and it may not be relevant for the Chilean classroom. Therefore, practices grounded in evidence collected in the Chilean context are essential.

Teacher empowerment: leaving the twilight zone

with Paula Rebolledo

Tuesday 2 April, 2019

Over the past few years and in different fields, the word “empowerment” has become increasingly used in talks, papers and social media. Education, of course, has not escaped this trend and the concept is frequently mentioned as a desired outcome of any educational activity and teachers, among the lucky ones to benefit from it.

However, and interestingly, the notion of empowerment is usually not defined and hardly discussed in depth. Is then empowerment such a common concept these days that needs no clarification?

Or, is it that its complexity deters any further analysis? I believe the persistent calls for the empowerment of teachers demand a closer study of the process and a critical appraisal of its occurrence. In this talk, we will examine the concept of empowerment and “teacher empowerment” more specifically.

I will draw on general education literature to present the different dimensions of teacher empowerment and what research findings suggest regarding its role in students’ achievement. We will then zoom in on English language teaching and look at how empowered English teachers claim to feel by sharing stories of empowerment and disempowerment.

In doing so, I will invite you to reflect on enabling features, hindering factors and paradoxes identified to ultimately think of ways forward if we ‘truly’ wish teacher empowerment to leave the twilight zone.

Paula Rebolledo has 20 years of teaching experience and has taught at primary, secondary, undergraduate and postgraduate levels and in INSETT programmes. She currently teaches at MA level and works as a researcher and consultant.

She is the former coordinator of teacher education at the English Open Doors Programme (EODP) at the Ministry of Education in Chile.

Her research interests include teaching young learners, teacher education, professional development and teacher-research.

For the past six years, she has been mentoring teacher-research initiatives such as the Champion Teachers programme and the APTIS Action Research Award Scheme, both funded by the British Council, and the Laureate Action Research Scheme funded by Laureate Languages.

She co-authored with Richard Smith A Handbook for Exploratory Action Research and co-edited the Champion Teachers Chile and Champion Teachers Peru, and Stories of Exploratory Action Research.

She is the co-founder of RICELT, the first Chilean network of researchers in ELT.

Have you published a paper that is not on our database:


Have you presented your research at a conference recently?

Have you organised/ Are you organising a seminar or a conference?

Let us know about your work! Send us a PM or an email at:                                               ===> redicelt@gmail.com


Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, crowd and outdoor
This is #RICELT2019! Local knowledge and expertise made in #Chile!
Founding Date: April 2014

RICELT is a non-hierarchical and non-profit network of people interested in promoting research in ELT in Chile.

We are a network different from the already existing ELT associations.

Pre & in-service teachers, university teachers, postgraduate students, and researchers are involved in this network.


* To make ELT Chilean research more visible and accessible.
* To improve the relationship between Chilean ELT researchers and governmental institutions (PIAP, MINEDUC) and associations / agencies like IATEFL Chile, TESOL, British Council, etc.
* To promote dialogue and collaboration among different ELT actors in Chile.
* To promote and share teacher-research initiatives.

A working definition of research

RICELT understands research as:

“The careful study of a situation/facts through the collection of evidence and its analysis”.


About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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