The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader – Revised edition
Edited By Eleanor Blair
Introduction to Section One
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Teacher leaders working to make social justice an essential part of twenty-first-century schools inevitably confront political and social agendas that are in direct conflict with efforts to create educational contexts that are responsive to the needs of diverse students and their families. These efforts are often lost in the myriad roadblocks created by politicians and bureaucrats who focus on self-interests rather than the broader needs of society. This conflict is obvious in the daily, and all too familiar, struggles surrounding power, authority, and advocacy in the increasingly bureaucratic school–industrial complex. In Weiler’s (1988) study of women teachers and administrators, she found:
They inherit positions in already existing, highly complex institutions … . Feminist and antiracist teachers and administrators who seek to redefine curriculum and social relationships inside and outside the classroom find themselves in conflict with existing patriarchal ideology and hierarchical relationships. (p. 101)
Since 1988, little has changed. The same conservative patriarchal ideologies and hierarchical relationships are alive and well in schools today and impact every level of pedagogical decision-making. However, today’s teachers are better educated than ever before and uniquely qualified to assume leadership roles that have an ideological component that would shape the direction of discussions regarding how, what, and where we teach as well as notions about teachers’ roles and responsibilities as leaders in the reform of twenty-first-century schools.
Cochran-Smith (1991) conceptualized the notion of “teaching against the grain” in the following way:...
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