How the Interplay of Technology, Public Policy and Teacher Discourses in Education Construct the Teacher Subject
Type of DegreeDissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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This study applies a Foucauldian critical analytic to investigate how different discourses that are present in one Alabama public school are shaping various aspects of the teacher-self. In an environment of increasing technology-mediation of teachers’ work that coincides with public policy reforms that aim to systematically manage the activities of teachers through performative practices, this study looks at how these powerful forces impact interactions between technology experts, school administrators and teachers. Primarily through interviews with fourteen school administrators and teachers at one Alabama High School, this case study maps out technology, public policy and teacher discourses to offer a description of how these discourses operate to subtly constitute teachers as normalized subjects by producing knowledge and inducing the effects of power. Bandeen’s (2009) and Gore’s (1995) frameworks provide the deductive design for data interpretation. By applying these models, teacher retellings are examined for signs of structures of thought and discursive truths that characterize particular ways of thinking about the nature of education, about the meaning of a teacher’s work, and about the various possible representations of a teacher’s self. The findings demonstrate how teachers reconcile their own personal experiences and professional ethics with the static ‘ideal’ images that are projected by different discourses and represent teachers in particular ways. In the localized context of the school, teachers resist and alter discourses to produce other possibilities for the critical teacher subject positions they actually occupy. The main contribution of this study is to bring into view how teachers powerfully question and resist the constraints placed upon their conduct and draw on their personal relationships with each other to constitute their own ethical teacher self.