Robert Kaplinsky

• ShadowCon Session

People may think that they want power, but what they really desire is influence. At a glance, both look similar, but the differences have huge implications in society and math education. Learn how to differentiate between them and how to use that knowledge to create a win/win situation that helps yourself and others at the same time.

Robert’s Talk


Call to Action



Featured Comments

Sadie Estrella:

What about those who it isn’t in their nature to ask for help. There are many cultures where it is not a customary thing to ask someone for help and also most cultures of classrooms don’t create an environment where students feel comfortable to ask for help. For the students (who eventually become teachers or adults in this world), who have learned that this is what it should be like (not asking for help or being berated for asking for help) how do we address this?

Jill Buecking:

It’s important that there is a common understanding of empowerment bc some thrive while others feel like the “district office” is making them do more work. Ts need to feel supported while empowered. The idea of empowerment has led to lots of eye opening conversations about power vs influence vs self-direction vs autonomy

Jennifer Wilson:

1. How often are Ts powerless to act & teach & lead b/c admins fear losing power?
2. How often are Ss powerless to notice & question, lead & learn b/c Ts fear losing power?
3. When will we recognize that giving power away gives us more influence?

Robin Schwartz:

Looking at the CTA and noticed that “less power” was a phrase: We can empower people who have more power and can influence people at our level and above and below.
Empowerment includes pointing out the good/great and helping generate ideas thru questioning
as well as challenging convos. As a leader/empowerer it is super important to refuel as we are giving our energy to help others.

Elizabeth Raskin:

I realized that it was the idea of giving power with the expectation of gaining influence that was throwing me off. I absolutely understand that was not the underlying message of Robert’s talk, but it was, ultimately, what was holding me back from participating. I kept thinking “who am I going to influence?” when I should have been thinking “who needs more power.”

Robert Kaplinsky

Robert Kaplinsky

Robert Kaplinsky has worked in education since 2003 as a classroom teacher, district math teacher specialist, and University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) instructor. He is the co-founder of openmiddle.com. His current passions in math education are problem-based learning and Depth of Knowledge. You can find him online at robertkaplinsky.com.

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