23 SES 03 B, Teacher’s work, Training and Professionalism I
This presentation discusses active citizenship from the point of view of teachers. I present some of the early findings of my ongoing dissertation research that goes under the working title “Teachers for Peace and Progress” – Sketching the Picture of an Ideological Teacher. The study typifies sociologically and historically oriented teacher research with main interest on teacher-society-relationship and teacher’s civic agency.
Data consists of texts in a Finnish journal Koulutyöntekijä (School Worker). This was an organ for of an ideological teachers’ association called Demokraattiset koulutyöntekijät ry i.e. Demko (Democratic School Workers Association, 1973-1989). Demko was a school political organization founded by progressive teachers who wanted to promote egalitarian school politics and improve teachers’ professional status. Politically Demko was independent but it was clearly left oriented. It took a firm stand against teachers’ official trade union OAJ which was considered conservative.
The main research question is what kind of societal agency is constructed possible for a teacher in an ideological organization paper. Demko is understood as representing nonconformist teacher image that emerged with the general social radicalization in the 1960's and 1970's. Thus, data is studied against the history of the Finnish teacherhood and against the context of school political and general political developments of the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Theoretically the study draws from two directions: on the one hand from German critical theory, on the other hand from Michel Foucault’s work. Understanding of school institution and the nature of ideal education is founded on Frankfurt School thinkers such as Theodor Adorno, Frankfurt School inspired critical pedagogy (e.g. Klaus Mollenhauer) and American critical pedagogy (Henry A. Giroux). Educational decisions, structures and everyday practices are perceived as deriving eventually from political decisions and ideological power struggles in a given society. School institution is seen as usually having an intermediary role in relation to the prevailing ideology. This cultural transmission task is carried out in schools without much problematization, which enables the real social and political motives of education to remain hidden.
Still, at the same time as the schools reproduce the larger society, they are seen to contain spaces to resist its dominating logic by creating democratic public spheres dedicated to forms of self and social empowerment. In these spaces teachers might play as transformative intellectuals developing counter hegemonic pedagogies that educate students for transformative action and help them to acquire the skills necessary to live in an authentic democracy. This ideal is, how ever, challenged not only by cultural and historical myths about teacher’s role but also by the institutional character of the work. The conflict between ideals of transformativity and the institutional, structural and normative boundaries guiding everyday professionals work is discussed with the help of Foucaultian concepts of power, governance, discourse, counter-discourse and agency.
Adorno, T. W. 1995 (1969). Kasvatus Auschwitzin jälkeen. Suom. Raija Sironen, Esa Sironen & Timo uusitupa. Teoksessa J. Koivisto, M. Mäki & T. Uusitupa (toim.) Mitä on valistus? Tampere, Vastapaino, 227–247. Foucault, M. 1990/1976. The history of sexuality. An introduction. London: Penguin Books. Foucault, M. 1977. Discipline and punish. The birth of the prison. London: Penguin Books. Giroux, H. A. 1989. Critical pedagogy, the state, and cultural struggle. Albany : State University of New York Press. Giroux, H. A. 1988. Teachers as intellectuals. Toward a critical pedagogy of learning. Westport: Bergin & Garvey. Giroux, H. A. 1983. Theory & resistance in education. A pedagogy for the opposition. London: Heinmann Educational Books Ltd. Räisänen, M. 2008. Transformatiivisuuden säikeitä opettajapuheessa. Diskurssianalyysi opettajan yhteiskuntasuhteen rakentumisesta Opettaja-lehdessä. Kasvatus (1), 6-19. Simola, H. 1995. Paljon vartijat. Suomalainen kansanopettaja valtiollisessa kouludiskurssissa 1860-luvulta 1990-luvulle. Helsingin yliopisto. Opettajankoulutuslaitos. Tutkimuksia 137.
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