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ERIC Number: EJ870217
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 39
ISSN: ISSN-0737-5328
Negotiating Authority in an Undergraduate Teacher Education Course: A Qualitative Investigation
Brubaker, Nathan D.
Teacher Education Quarterly, v36 n4 p99-118 Fall 2009
Negotiating authority, a multifaceted, on-going process of mutual bargaining over the power to determine or the right to control, permeates all facets of teaching experience. Considered by many educational theorists to be an outgrowth of collaborative dialogue and decision-making that helps foster active student engagement and investment in learning, different aspects of negotiating authority have been theorized as essential dimensions of democratic education. If teachers are to gain a deeper understanding of negotiatory practices, empirical support for their implementation, and practical guidance for structuring classroom authority relations, systematic empirical study of negotiating authority is needed. The purpose of this study was to help fill this gap by exploring how authority was negotiated in an undergraduate teacher education course. The author discusses three theoretical perspectives: (1) Dewey's vision of democratic education; (2) Foucault's (1980) conception of power; and (3) Freire's (1996) theory of liberatory praxis, that are particularly relevant to examining how authority is negotiated in teacher education classrooms. While this exploratory study was limited in scope since it was a pilot for a larger study, the credibility of the findings was enhanced by the richness of the data, the triangulation of both data methods and sources, and the author's use of other strategies like progressive subjectivity, negative case analysis, and persistent observation. Three major themes emerged from the data: (1) negotiating authority through student choice; (2) negotiating authority through strategic manipulation; and (3) negotiating authority through structured chaos. This study provides preliminary insights into how authority was negotiated in an undergraduate teacher education classroom. On a continuum of authority relations, interactions in the classroom reflected more the extremes of authoritarian and permissive associations than the middle ground of democratic authority. Five aspects of democratic authority were evident in this study. These are: (1) Authority as an Interrelational Act; (2) Mutual Communication and Decision-Making; (3) Need-based Guidance through Expertise and Rules; (4) Rights Recognized as Legitimate; and (5) Mutual Interdependence. (Contains 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A