ERIC Number: ED397946
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr-10
Power Relations Underlying the Changing of Conceptions of Knowledge in an Elementary Classroom.
Current reform efforts in education emphasize role changes for students and teachers within classrooms and schools. A phenomenological study examined one teacher's internal conflict while negotiating the shifting boundaries of power relations between teacher and students. The goal of this study was to explore the processes and constraints involved in the creation and evolution of a theme-study curriculum. This exploration attempted to elucidate meanings behind theme study, in terms of the processes and constraints involved in implementing theme study in one classroom, the meanings of theme study developed by teacher and students, and the resulting conceptions of knowledge revealed by student actions and teacher reflections. The students were fifth-graders from a laboratory school in the southeastern United States. The results suggested that there were three perspectives on knowledge that became apparent in the roles students took: stable/passive, inquisitory/active, and communal. The power structure in the classroom appeared to be marked by relatively sharp boundaries between teacher and students. Results suggested that inquisitory and active approaches to knowledge were possible only within the shifting boundaries of power relations between teacher and students. Empowering student voice and limiting teacher control appeared to underlie movement in students' conceptions of knowledge. Contains 39 references. (MOK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 8-12, 1996).