Should the Power Dynamics Embedded in School Culture be Treated as a Threat or an Opportunity to Create Collective Knowledge?

By Sharmistha Das.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

‘Power dynamics’ is at the centre of any human interaction. In schools, various forms of power dynamics (manifested through forms of social interactions between people) can be observed within sub-cultures and individual classroom cultures. An ‘effective’ school culture uses these power dynamics to shape a desired learning environment. The theme of ‘the practice of power’ was explored in relation to teacher culture and its link with classroom cultures in the data gathered from four case study schools. During cross-case analysis, an attempt was made to find out if there was any pattern in the interactions in each school between the members of staff and the interactions between the teachers and the pupils in the classrooms with regard to power dynamics. Inconsistency in the patterns observed in two schools raised questions such as: To what extent can we expect the pupils to become independent lifelong learners, if there is a stronger focus on overall ‘control’ than ‘autonomy’? The paper investigates the issues in relation to the concept of overall school culture.

Keywords: Power Dynamics, School Culture, Learning Environment

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 7, pp.1-8. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 638.401KB).

Dr. Sharmistha Das

Researcher, School of Education, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK

I have worked within the field of education in Bangladesh, England and Scotland. Being a practitioner and a researcher, the recent years' experience has developed my keen interest in the areas of organisational culture, values promoting teachers' professional identities and classroom cultures.


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