Good Teachers Talk: Better Teachers Listen

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Good Teachers Talk: Better Teachers Listen…

Class Teaching

Listening

Working in an educational context with the worthwhile aim of reducing gaps between students from differing social backgrounds is a daunting task. Classrooms are inevitably sites of power asymmetry, and not just between the pupils. Although it can be awkward to confront, the social disparity between teachers and pupils is sometimes a tangible and influential factor in schools that needs sensitive, yet robust, handling.

Discourse

Gee describes Discourses (with a capital ‘D’) as ‘social practices’ that involve ‘words, actions, values and beliefs’ that members of particular social groups adopt in order to assert their roles and therefore identities. According to Gee, we are apprenticed into our primary discourses early in life through scaffolded support from people who have already mastered the discourse, usually our families. We are also apprenticed into a secondary discourse as part of our socialisation outside of our early homes and peer groups through social institutions, such…

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Managerialism

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Managerialism

Scenes From The Battleground

One of the biggest cultural changes in education that has happened since I trained to teach has been in attitudes to management. This impression has been somewhat re-enforced by some temporary work in independent schools (and a grammar school) where the hierarchy more closely resembled what schools were like when I started teaching. Based on my experience, the following trends have concerned me over the last decade and a half.

  1. Excessive numbers of managers. When I started, people doing admin tasks were given “responsibility points”. These were changed to TLRs many years ago, and this led to people who only wanted to edit a spreadsheet being encouraged to line manage a colleague. One source claimed 42% of teachers have management responsibilities. In some schools I’ve worked in that’s been more like 50%. If this is a matter of remuneration and doesn’t reflect a power structure, then fair enough. But if…

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