This book is based on a careful theorizing of classroom power relations that sees them as constructed from the actions of all participants. Contrary to the common assumption that the teacher is the source of classroom power, it sees that power as arising from the interaction between students and teachers. If power is owned by the teacher, she is completely responsible for events in the classroom, whether or not she chooses to share her power/control/authority with the students. If, as this book claims, power is the joint creation of all participants, teachers are freed from an excessive and damaging weight of responsibility for classroom events and outcomes. The shared responsibility between students and teachers for what happens in the classroom is brought to light.
Based on an ethnographic study of three elementary classrooms, this book offers a careful look at the workings of classroom power. It is of interest both to those seeking to understand power relations from this theoretical viewpoint and to those whose concern is with the daily workings of classrooms, often called classroom management. Questions explored in this book include:
* How do teachers organize time and space in classrooms as part of their contribution to the development of classroom power relations?
* What kinds of discourse choices do they make, and why?
* How do students contribute to defining what will count as classroom knowledge, and how do they resist teacher agendas as they play their part in constructing classroom power relations?
"In this dynamic study, Manke observes three classrooms, one first grade and two fifth grades, to find out what power relationships exist between teachers and students. Her research demonstrates a constructivist view of time, space, and classroom management."
"Manke focuses on teachers' uses of power; her greatest contribution is her inquiry into how elementary teachers who profess to take a whole-language approach and strive to use collaborative learning groups redefine their power vis-à-vis their students….a critical and reflective examination of the multiple forms and uses of power that shape classroom dynamics…"
—Harvard Educational Review
"I would place the book in the growing field of the sociology of childhood….This book has a contribution to make in this area as well as in the field of educational studies….each description…offers excellent details about the local community, socio-economic milieu, the school, classroom layout and some aspects of everyday classroom practice."
—Britisch Educational Reseach, Jouranl
Contents: Preface. Introduction. Part I: Narratives of Classroom Life. Sunny Kaminski's Classroom: A Typical Readers' Workshop Time. Aileen Corvo's Classroom: A Typical Language Arts Period. Sue Anderson's Classroom: A Sample Language Arts Period. Part II: Teachers and Students Constructing Power Relations. Teacher Organization of Time and Space: One Aspect of Classroom Power Relations. Sally, Would You Like to Sit Down? Teachers Using Politeness and Indirect Discourse. Defining Classroom Knowledge: The Part That Students Play. Students in Conflict With Teachers' Agendas: Interactive Contributions to Classroom Power Relations. How Does It Help to Look at Classrooms in This Way? An Annotated Bibliography: Exploring Ideas About Power Relations in Classrooms.