ERIC Number: EJ1053429
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
The Teacher Disempowerment Debate: Historical Reflections on "Slender Autonomy"
Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education, v51 n1-2 p136-151 2015
A number of education researchers, both in Europe and in North America, have claimed that classroom teachers in state schooling systems have suffered from a process of "de-professionalisation" and/or "de-skilling" over recent decades. This paper argues that these claims are problematic, on at least two grounds. First, for teachers at least, "professional" is basically an ideological concept with little if any descriptive validity. To the extent that being a "professional" connotes individual or group autonomy from outside influences (whether state or societal), surveillance and controls over teacher behaviour have always been an essential component of state schooling systems, whether or not individuals or groups of teachers have attempted to mediate--or even resist--this domination from time to time. Second, while classroom teachers' work has changed and perhaps intensified over time, it is questioned whether these changes have resulted in significant de-skilling of their work--issues which are explored in the second part of this paper. Finally, as one example of the complex ways in which the state apparatus has worked throughout the history of state schooling (in Canada and the USA at least) to maintain and enhance its control over teachers, a case study is provided describing events in Ontario in the 1940s.
Descriptors: Teacher Empowerment, Professional Autonomy, Educational History, Public School Teachers, Foreign Countries, Case Studies, Ideology, Teacher Role, State Legislation, Educational Legislation, Teaching (Occupation)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada