Capstone/Dissertation Title

Constructing a shared understanding of the nature and dynamics of classroom authority

Term

2009

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAT

Abstract

The question, Can students and their teacher construct a shared understanding of the nature and dynamics of authority in the classroom? prompted research that implemented a curriculum for 17 students in a rural secondary English classroom and included the creation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the enactment of authority in the classroom. The project was influence primarily by the work of Metz, Pace, and Hemmings. Data from student reflection journals, teacher observation notes, and the MOU were analyzed qualitatively using document analysis. Three key findings emerged: 1) Students generally believe school is important to their future success 2) student willingness to accede to teacher authority is based partly on the perceived relevance of the subject matter, activities done in the classroom, and the fairness and effectiveness of the teacher and 3) students and their teacher can come to agreement regarding the enactment of authority in the classroom.

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