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Teacher control in the learner- centered classroom: an unavoidable paradox? adam lefstein navcon2003.

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Presentation on theme: "Teacher control in the learner- centered classroom: an unavoidable paradox? adam lefstein navcon2003."— Presentation transcript:

1 teacher control in the learner- centered classroom: an unavoidable paradox? adam lefstein navcon2003

2 at a glance problems at “birch” high school a selective history lesson –traditional instruction and discipline –progressive instruction –progressive discipline? back to “birch” what to do?

3 problems at “birch” high school

4 towards diagnosis – some things teachers told me: 1)staff are too permissive; students think ‘anything goes’. 2)students import emotional problems into school. 3)teachers are inconsistent in their rules and enforcement. 4)school studies are irrelevant and uninteresting; bored students disrupt lessons.

5 which explanation might be the key to solving the problem? 1)staff are too permissive; students think ‘anything goes’. 2)students import emotional problems into school. 3)teachers are inconsistent in their rules and enforcement. 4)school studies are irrelevant and uninteresting; bored students disrupt lessons. 5)other?

6 are proposed solutions compatible with learning and teaching in a community of thinking? why isn’t anybody talking about the relationship between the pedagogical reforms and power relations? could the growing “discipline problems” be a product of our teaching reforms?

7 a short, selective history lesson

8 traditional instruction demonstration recitation exercise examination

9 traditional discipline......or its breakdown?

10 Michel Foucault ( ) it’s not really about prison

11 discipline as technology of power distribution in space control of activity hierarchical observation normalizing judgment and examination

12 disciplinary technology – distribution in space

13 disciplinary technology – control of activity “Take your slates. At the word take, the children, with their right hands, take hold of the string by which the slate is suspended from the nail before them, and, with their left hands, they grasp the slate in the middle; at the word slates, they unhook it and place it on the table.”

14 disciplinary technology – hierarchical observation Can you find your way around?

15 b d c a Locate the main office? The teachers’ room?

16 b. class- rooms c. “design provides: Ability to observe more students with less people...” d. main office a. teachers’ room

17 disciplinary technology – normalizing judgment and examination “a pupil who at the end of three examinations has been unable to pass into the higher order must be placed, well in evidence, on the bench of the ‘ignorant’.”

18 “All the pupils in the grade should receive instruction relative to the same points, and write the same words simultaneously; thus all will attend to the same thing, at the same time...”

19 power is not exercised actively and consciously by teachers

20 the progressivist revolution John Dewey “Now the change which is coming into our education is the shifting of the center of gravity... the child becomes the sun about which the appliances of education revolve; he is the center about which they are organized.”

21 progressivist instruction natural learning student’s interests active learning cooperative learning authentic assessment democratic experience

22 traditional discipline subverted by progressivist instruction distribution in space control of activity hierarchical observation normalizing judgment and examination cooperative learning differentiated learning active learning authentic assessment

23 what about classroom control? a) what may seem like disorder is actually the noise and bustle of engaged learning b) student misbehavior is a sign that the lesson is inappropriate or uninteresting c) youthful rebellion against authority is natural and positive d) education for democracy means granting students self-government e) other?

24 “there is a certain disorder in any busy workshop... and there is the confusion, the bustle, that results from activity.”

25 “When students are ‘off task’, our first response should be to ask, ‘what’s the task?’” Alfie Kohn

26 selective history lesson: review traditional instruction and discipline coincide progressivist instruction subverts traditional discipline progressivist approach to the “discipline” problem: denial and self-blame

27 back to “birch” high school

28 cajoling self-restraint corrective interjections angry explosion immediate consequences in the lesson... traditional disciplinarian progressivist teacher

29 instruction cognitive and discursive partition power relations ?

30 “consider redesigning the maths curriculum in order to alleviate discipline problems”

31 subject area teacher subject leader facilitators separation mechanisms: school organization “homeroom” teacher grade leader psychologist discipline teaching and learning

32 separation mechanisms: professional development and manuals discipline teaching and learning

33 what should we do?

34 notes toward progressivist classroom government merging instruction and discipline physical design accountability rituals power sharing accepting the inevitable

35 merging instruction and power issues school organization curriculum design professional development

36 classroom and school design where would you rather teach? d a c b how would you organize the space?

37 notes toward progressivist classroom government merging instruction and discipline physical design accountability mechanisms rituals power sharing accepting the inevitable

38 notes toward progressivist classroom government merging instruction and discipline physical design accountability alternative rituals power sharing accepting the inevitable

39 notes toward progressivist classroom government merging instruction and discipline physical design accountability rituals gradual power sharing accepting the inevitable

40 notes toward progressivist classroom government merging instruction and discipline physical design accountability rituals power sharing accepting the inevitability of power relations

41 thank you adam lefstein

42 for further reading Dewey, John Experience and education. New York: The Macmillan company. Egan, Kieran Getting it wrong from the beginning : our progressivist inheritance from Herbert Spencer, John Dewey, and Jean Piaget. New Haven: Yale University Press. Foucault, Michel Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison. New York: Random House. Kohn, Alfie Beyond discipline: from compliance to community. Alexandria, Va.: ASCD. Lefstein, A Thinking power and pedagogy apart - Coping with discipline in progressivist school reform. Teachers College Record 104 (8): Tanner, Laurel N Dewey's laboratory school: lessons for today. New York: Teachers College Press.


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