ERIC Number: ED257806
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Apr-2
Reference Count: 0
The Structure of School: Teachers and Authority.
Feir, Robert E.
While history helps to trace the development of the American public school as a bureaucratic institution and the role of teachers within that institution, a more sociological view helps to clarify the authority relationships within the school and the teacher's role within that structure. It is the teacher's willingness to claim autonomy based solely upon the ability to make instructional decisions in a single classroom, in isolation from colleagues, that helps reinforce the bureaucratic school structure and the teacher's own very limited role in the school's authority structure. Decisions are made by those in management positions, but teachers do not work together to evolve curricular or other school-wide decisions. This results in the teacher becoming more an alienated worker in the system than an independent professional. Since the schools attract few teachers who desire to participate in the life of the school, it is easy for the school to establish a reward structure that strengthens the institutional hierarchy. Teachers should engage in a great deal of job-related discussion and share in decisions regarding instructional programs and curricula. To the degree that this participation does not take place, the institution is deprived of the collective wisdom of its members, and each of its members is deprived of the opportunity to develop professionally. (JD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (69th, Chicago, IL, March 31-April 4, 1984).