The Complexities of Authority in the Classroom : Fostering Democracy for Student Learning book cover
1st Edition

The Complexities of Authority in the Classroom
Fostering Democracy for Student Learning

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after April 22, 2022
ISBN 9780367691981
April 22, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
296 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations

USD $48.95

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Book Description

This book argues that democratic classroom management is not a stand-alone issue, but is deeply intertwined with classroom climate, and requires a thoughtful, grounded understanding of classroom authority. Contributors explore the sources, nature, and extent of teacher authority, as they distinguish authority from authoritarianism, and describe how classroom authority is ultimately a shared endeavour between teachers and students. By drawing on a variety of contexts and perspectives, chapters in this volume contend with the complexities inherent in classroom authority through the lenses of gender, urban vs. rural contexts, and within elementary and secondary classrooms.

Table of Contents








1: Introduction – Margaretta Patrick and Ken Badley

2: Classroom Management: A Dialogue with Larger Social Questions – Margaretta Patrick


3: Authorizing Yourself to Teach – Ken Badley and Michelle Hughes

4: Good to Go: Teaching by our Students’ Consent – Ken Badley

5: Being All There: Teacher Presence and Teacher Authority – Ken Badley [+ textbox / humility: Farrington-Thompson]

6: The Importance and Impact of Listening Well – Emily Robinson and Shae Nimmo

7: Invitational Theory: A Theoretical Foundation for Establishing a Positive Classroom Ethos – Sean Schat

8: School of Rock – Mason Steinke

9: Case Study: A Turn-Around in a High-Needs Classroom – Nadine Ayer


10: A Sense of Place and Student Consent – Jacqueline Filipek

11: Authorizing Students Through Inquiry and Assessment – Reanna Jordan and Ken Badley

12: Authorizing Students Through Relationships – Iriel Jaroslavsky

13: On Authority and Dignity – Paige Ray

14: Situating Classroom Management in English Language Arts, Math, and Social Studies – Jacqueline Filipek, Margaretta Patrick, Wendy Stienstra


15: Teacher Authority and Culturally Responsive Teaching – Margaretta Patrick

16: Male Authority: Assumption-Busting – Genie Kim

17: Look Who’s talking: Gender, Teacher Authority and the Use of Linguistic Space – Allyson Jule

18: Interrogating the Relationship between a Teacher’s Race and Classroom Authority – Malini Sivasubramaniam


19: The Student Teacher’s Relationships: Mentor Teachers and Students – Rebecca Clarke, Tiffany Chung, and Maegahn Smith

20: Reflections of a Beginning Teacher: Who Am I Going to Be? – Ashley Ryl

21. Establishing Yourself as a Teacher in a Foreign Setting – Nicola Campbell

22: Succeeding as a Substitute Teacher – Bina Ali and Douglas Laing

23: Creating Positive Classroom Climate in Remote Settings – Kristen Tjostheim

24. The Challenges and Rewards of Teaching in Remote Settings – Dena Palmaymesa and Natasha Steenhof Bakker

25: Reflections of a Retired Teacher – Ron McIntyre

CONCLUSION – Margaretta Patrick & Ken Badley


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Margaretta Patrick teaches within the Faculty of Education at The King’s University in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada).

Ken Badley serves as a Professor by Special Appointment to the Bachelor of Education program at Tyndale University in Toronto, Ontario (Canada).


The Complexities of Authority in the Classroom shifts the questions of classroom climate away from classroom management and behaviour control toward a much more holistic and integral understanding of how human beings learn and how that learning is best facilitated.  The term authority is reclaimed for teachers as something that is earned, modelled, embodied, and integral and that operates in the space created by the relationships between people.  Education for too long has focused on the top-down transmission and assessment of content knowledge: this book is a refreshingly simple, yet profound re-balancing of this equation to an inside-out model that privileges authenticity, listening, relationships, engaging curricula and student self-leadership. Written by practitioners, this volume offers needed insights into how effective classrooms work and how the students in those classrooms can engage more meaningfully in their own learning narratives.

– Ruth Crick, Founder and Director, WILD Learning Sciences, Professor of Learning Analytics and Educational Leadership, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

Authority is far too often framed as ‘discipline.’ This exciting and interesting book helps teachers and teacher educators take other perspectives. A range of high quality chapters give insight into theoretical and practical issues related to the core business of teaching, namely cultivating relational spaces in which pupils can learn to take their own responsibility. The authors unravel the complicated job of teachers of both authorizing themselves to teach and authorizing students to learn. This book will undoubtedly be of great value for teacher-training and for post-initial training. I recommend it to all teachers who are searching for new insights and practical tools for their everyday job.

–Bram de Muynck, Professor of education at Driestar Christian University Gouda, the Netherlands.

Badley and Patrick have curated a collection of stories, theories, and research notes that is both brilliant and authentic. The central ideas of being authorized to teach by self and others, and the consent to learn, are concepts that all educators confront yet too often fail to articulate and thoughtfully address with their practice. Teaching is done with, rather than done to. An exchange occurs between teacher and learner that transforms classrooms into places of learning. It is magical and yet it can be analyzed. The authors in this text contribute to that analysis adeptly and address a wide variety of aspects and contexts, such as substitute teaching, early career teaching, special needs teaching, cross cultural teaching, and the list goes on. Addressing issues of true authorization and honest consent, every chapter hits the nails on the heads. As Badley notes, teaching requires guts, which in turn calls for courage and hope. The consent only learners can grant to their teachers constitutes the difference between trying and truly teaching. Every university teacher preparation program owes this book to their students as part of a required text list. Teaching careers and student trajectories demand as much.

–Jay Mathisen, Superintendent, Jefferson County School District, Oregon, USA

For many reasons, The Complexities of Authority in Classroom should find its way into the personal libraries of all teachers. This book is about relationships first, and it pushes managing the classroom far down the list. In that regard, I think the philosophy at the foundation of the book is spot-on. 

–Jim Parsons, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta, Canada