ERIC Number: ED479641
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003
Alienated Labor and the Quality of Teachers' Lives: How Teachers in Low-Performing Schools Experience Their Work.
This paper focuses on how teachers in city schools are experiencing the labor process. It summarizes the concept of alienation, beginning with Hegel's metaphysical teleology, which was overturned by Feuerback and found its historical materialist expression in Marx's theory of alienated labor. The paper then revisits some of the work of critical education scholars who have applied versions of the theory of alienated labor to the work of teachers. It sets aspects of the theory alongside the responses of teachers interviewed in a preliminary study on how educators working in low performing schools experience the labor process, how they understand the larger political/economic issues, how they express critique, and how they resist alienation. The paper asserts that there is a contradiction apparent in policies supposedly designed to promote social equity for all students, which have as their consequence the production of alienated labor for teachers. In contrast to this, the paper highlights a model of teacher preparation and professional development that supports the development and exercise of quality professional judgments, suggesting that this is the most promising route to lasting and genuine teacher control over their own labor and meaningful and sustained improvement. (Contains 32 references.) (SM)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A