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ERIC Number: EJ821084
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Oct
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: ISSN-1354-0602
Keeping Them in Line: Choreographing Classroom Spaces
Hirst, Elizabeth; Cooper, Maxine
Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, v14 n5-6 p431-445 Oct 2008
This paper provides teachers with an opportunity for thinking about the kinds of "people" constructed in their classes, the kinds of "dances" choreographed and the ways space is organised for learning. We argue that this is essential for teachers to think about if they are to enact socially just professional practices. In this study, we explore the ways in which students learn to be particular kinds of people. We understand this as happening through their participation in communities of practice. Becoming a member of a community of practice, of a classroom and of a school is a process of developing a particular identity, modes of behaviour and ways of knowing. It is through these "normalising" practices that power is constituted, boundaries constructed and certain "kinds of people" are recognised, represented and constituted, whilst others are not. All individuals are implicated in these processes and active in the construction of their own as well as others' identities. This paper locates this discussion using social relations of gender and ethnicity, and considers how diversity and difference are actively constituted and play out in one primary school classroom. How students participate in the spatial practices and the construction of pedagogical spaces, what identities are available to them in these spaces and which they take up, is explored. The metaphor of dance is used to analyse these spaces, a metaphor which helps us to understand the complexity of classroom relationships and the way macro-social practices are both reflected and reconstituted in classroom practices. We argue that the ways teachers think about how they place students, space students and construct students are crucial for student and teacher learning.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education; Primary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia