Fragment and scribbling on teaching and power

Teaching is embedded with a power differential. Not teaching as a vocation, but teaching as a relationship, an event, and occurence. The teacher finds themselves in a position of power over/with the student through the knowedge they carry and the student’s “need” for completion of the tasks. Teaching within a political process is similarly polarized. Many, aware of the authoritarian possibilities latent, fear this relation. Some try to abolish it from education. Others mechanistically embrace it, and believe through craftsmanship education can erase the problematic elements of hierarchies of knowledge and power. Freire sought to try and address these issues more gently, but how? Through abolishing education? Dissolving the teacher-student dialectic? Into equals?

Placing power at the core of education, we need to reframe these problematics. The problem is not simply power, but what kind of power between teacher and pupil, what are we contracting, how and for what? At the social level of analysis, teaching is part of the construction of power & will tend to reflect all the conflicting social psyches and forces within. It is not simply a matter of imposing progressive power and short-circuiting repressive power. The struggle in teaching as a political event is to act upon reality in a way that facilitates new growths of collective powers beyond the summation of the student and teacher.


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