This book describes and analyzes authority relationships in classrooms through explorations of theory, prior research, and contemporary qualitative studies. The emphasis is on the social construction of authority and the crucial role authority plays in K-16 teachers' pedagogy and students' academic engagement and achievement.
The introductory chapter grounds the reader in social theory on authority; presents groundbreaking qualitative studies of classroom authority; describes ideological debates over authority in schools; and discusses implications for research, practice, and policy. Six field-based qualitative studies illuminate the dynamics of authority across a spectrum of K-12 and college settings. These studies feature a variety of methodologies, theoretical lenses, and interpretive perspectives that the authors use to gather and analyze data. The emphasis in all the chapters is on the nature, negotiation, and implications of authority relations between teachers and students. The epilogue pulls the book together by elucidating new findings and vital themes that expand the reader's vision of what classroom authority means, how it is constructed, and why it is so important.
This book seeks to revitalize dialogue and research on classroom authority with attention to the contextual factors that bear on its social construction. It is aimed at teacher educators, scholars, policymakers, students of education, and practitioners who seek empirically based understanding of authority that is inextricably connected to classroom life and ultimately to the larger issues of educational quality and democracy in schools and society.
Table of Contents
Contents: M.H. Metz, Foreword. Preface. J.L. Pace, A. Hemmings, Understanding Classroom Authority as a Social Construction. J.S. Wills, Authority, Culture, Context: Controlling the Production of Historical Knowledge in Elementary Classrooms. J. Mullooly, H. Varenne, Playing With Pedagogical Authority. J.L. Pace, Saving (and Losing) Face, Race, and Authority: Strategies of Action in a Ninth-Grade English Class. J.S. Bixby, Authority in Detracked High School Classrooms: Tensions Among Individualism, Equity, and Legitimacy. A. Hemmings, Moral Order in High School Authority: Dis/Enabling Care and (Un)Scrupulous Achievement. R. Rosenblum, Standards and Sob Stories: Negotiating Authority at an Urban Public College. D.T. Hansen, Epilogue: The Sources and Expressions of Classroom Authority.
"To understand whether education is succeeding, where it might be going wrong, and what exemplars can be found for educational improvement, one has to develop a fine-grained understanding of what happens between teachers and students, between each and curricula, and between individual students and their peers. In this context, Classroom Authority: Theory, Research, and Practice comes as a breath of fresh air....Teachers-in-training, practicing teachers, school board members, policymakers, and educational researchers will all find much to reflect on as a consequence of reading this book."
—Mary Haywood Metz
University of Wisconsin/Madison, From the Foreword