ERG SES H 10, Ethnographic Approaches in Education
The aim of the paper is to describe, analyze and compare ways of teacher´s dealing with pedagogical situations. Two different types of teacher´s approaches to low secondary students can be observed at the Czech schools. At some schools teacher´s power dominance predominates, teachers raise pupils using a model grounded in unequal, power-based relationships between adults and children. In others teachers communicate with pupils from a “partnership perspective”, which is based on equality and maintaining respect for a child's dignity.
Each teacher naturally has an individual style in terms of approach to pupils, but there is usually a shared standard of pedagogical behavior towards pupils at a particular school. As a teacher at a Czech state elementary school I visited several English schools and was surprised at how much the standard of approach to pupils there differs from what it is usual at the Czech school. I expected this respectful approach to children at Czech private schools and therefore I visited some and actually found it there. I have decided to research these two different teachers´ approaches to pupils.
The paper deals with a detailed description of similar pedagogical situations which are being managed in different ways - powerfully or respectfully – with diametrically different means and with different impact. I ask how similar pedagogical situations are controlled by teachers in a regular school and in a reference school, and in what situations the teachers´ behaviour in these types of schools differs most.
The realization of curricular aims is enabled by clearly established power relationship at school (Vlčková & Mareš & Ježek, 2015; Šalamounová & Švaříček, 2012). This supports Bernstein´s (1966) theory of dominance of regulative instructional discourse while the didactic discourse constitutes a part of the regulative one. Power negotiation and use of power are understood as an inherent part of the educational process (McCroskey & Richmond, 1983; Šeďová, 2011). Power can be defined as an ability to influence the opinions, values and behaviour of others (McCroskey et al., 2006). Power is viewed as a situational (Jacobs, 2012; Schultz & Oyler, 2006), circular (Buzzelli & Johnston, 2001; Aultman, Williamson-Johnson & Schutz, 2009) and reciprocal phenomenon (McCroskey, 2006; Moscovici, 2007). Ad such it represents one of the most studied phenomena in social sciences (e. g. Foucalt, 1975).
Traditional and the most influential typology of social power as a relational phenomenon comes from French and Raven (1959). It distinguishes teacher´s power according to the principle which it is based on. The typology of power bases has been developed and partly revised over the years but the main five power bases remained stable (Raven, 1992, 1993). Reward power comes from a student´s perception that the teacher can provide him/her with positive benefits or reward. Coercive power presents a student´s awareness that the teacher can punish him/her. Legitimate power reflects the teacher´s authoritative role in relation to the student, referent power reflects a student´s positive regard for the teacher and personal identification. Expert power emanates from the teacher´s knowledge or expertise as an educator in the subject area.
The referent and expert power bases can be considered as observable and justified in respectful communication. The coercive and reward basis of power belong to education based on an unequal powerful approach to students (e. g. Kopriva et al., 2007). Legitimate power base can be found in both types of communication – whether it belongs to respectful or powerful approach depends on the manner in which the base is declared and realized.
The research will hopefully identify different ways of communication in the same or similar pedagogical situations, which are dealt with differently in different schools.
Qualitative research is implemented in two types of schools – the regular and the reference. The main method of data collection is the observation of pedagogical situations in one school, a detailed description and analysis of the observed, and the subsequent comparison with the data obtained by observing similar situations in the reference school. During the school observation I make detailed notes, everything is overwritten, openly coded, analyzed and compared. There are multi-case studies where the case is the individual situation. Two situations will be presented in the paper: the communication with a pupil who comes to school after a longer absence and the situation where the teacher solves which pupils will be accommodated together in the room during the multi-day school trip. It is also intended to hold in-depth semi-structured dialogues with pupils and teachers; the question is how both sides perceive these situations and how they feel about them.
There are profound differences between how teachers solve the pedagogical situations and the differences are obvious especially in comparison. The comparison could help support the respectful approach. I am convinced that unequal powerful approach to children is inefficient at school and has a harmful long-lasting impact on their self-esteem. Education based on this type of communication leads to obedience and dependence on authority instead of being self-educated and responsible A better understanding of the situations in which some teachers apply power and others partnership can help the respectful communication. I found the respectful approach more effective at school and more beneficial for pupils´ development and for democracy in general.
Aultman, L. P., Williams-Johnson, M. R., & Schutz, P. A. (2009). Boundary dilemmas in teacher student relationships: Struggling with “the line“. Teaching and teaching education, 25(5), 636-646. Bernstein, B. (1996). Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity. London: Taylor and Francis. Buzzelli, C., & Johnston, B. (2001). Authority, power, and morality in classroom discourse. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17(8), 873–884. French, J. R. P., & Raven, B. (1959). The bases of social power. In D. Cartwright & A. Zander, Group dynamics (s. 259–269). New York: Harper & Row. Foucault, M. (1975). Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison. Paris: Gallimard. Jacobs, G. E. (2012). Models of power and the deletion of participation in a classroom literacy event. Journal of Research in Reading, 35(4), 353–371. Kopřiva, P., et al. (2007). Respektovat a být respektován. [To respect and to be respected]. Kroměříž: Spirála. McCroskey, J. C., et al. (2006). An introduction to communication in the classroom I: Teacher and student perceptions. Communication Education, 32(2), 175-218. McCroskey, J. C., & Richmond, V. P. (1983). Power in the classroom I. Communication Education, 32(2), 175–218. Moscovici, H. (2007). Mirror, mirrors on the wall, who is the most powerful of all? A selfstudy analysis of power relationships in science methods courses. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44(9), 1370–1388. Raven, B. H. (1992). A power/interaction model of interpersonal influence: French and Raven thirty years later. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 7(2), 217–244. Raven, B. H. (1993). The bases of power: Origin and recent developments. Journal of Social Issues, 49(4), 227-251. Schultz, P. D., & Oyler, C. (2006). We make this road as we walk together: Sharing teacher authority in a social action curriculum project. Communication Education, 56 (3), 308-323. Šalamounová, Z., & Švaříček, R. (2012). Komunikace z pohledu učitelů [Communication from the teacher´s point of view]. In K. Šeďová, R. Švaříček, & Z. Šalamounová, Komunikace ve školní třídě [Communication in the classroom] (215-228). Praha: Portál. Šeďová, K. (2011). Mocenské konstelace ve výukové komunikaci. [Constellations of power in educational communication]. Studia paedagogica, 16(1), 89-118. Vlčková, K. et al. (2015). Z posluchárny za katedru: Mocenské vztahy ve výuce studentů učitelství [From a lecture hall to a teacher´s desk: Power realtions in student teacher classes]. Brno: Munipress. Vlčková, K., Mareš, J., & Ježek, S. (2015). Adaptation of Teacher Power Use Scale to Lower Secondary Students and Student Teachers. Pedagogická orientace, 25(6), 798-821.
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