Power and Authority Article

The article that I found is called Authority, power and morality in classroom discourse by Cary Buzzelli and Bill Johnston. It examines the complex relationships that arise in authority, power and morality within the classroom. I enjoyed this article because it suggests that there is always a presence of authority held by the teacher but that this authority can differ from the regular authoritarian style. It shows through dialogue between a teacher and her students how to use authority in a positive manner. It also showcases that students can hold the authority as well, and how effective it can be. One of the students has incorporated beer into a story he wrote and instead of using authoritarian power and getting upset with the student, she turns the power to her students and asks them how they feel about the situation. She prompts them to think about whether it is appropriate or not and what they could do to change this. By doing this, she turns the debate to her students, in which they collaborate together on a consensus. It becomes a class discussion rather than a lecture that the students would not retain or shut out. While I may not agree with everything this article said, I related to her teaching strategies and could connect it to things we have been learning in our classes and it was insightful for me.



One thought on “Power and Authority Article

  1. I thought that this article provided a good example of what authority means within the classroom. I liked how it discussed the complexity of the term, as well as how morality is related to it. I think every teacher needs to have some sort of authority within the classroom, but I also do not think that you necessarily have to be an authoritarian in order to have authority. There is a fine line, and it is something that each teacher must explore for themselves. Every teacher has their own way of demonstrating authority, and I think that this article helps to better define what the term can mean. I liked how the teacher described within this article did not shut down her students idea, but rather introduced a class discussion on the topic instead. Many teachers would have simply told them that they were not allowed to write about beer because it is not school appropriate, and this would certainly been the simpler route to take, but she did not. If students are afraid of having their answers shut down or dismissed, they are not likely to participate, and they are not likely to have a positive learning experience. I think that if they feel safe to express their thoughts and ideas, they are more likely to share and participate. This example provided an example of how morality is related to authority, and I found it very helpful! Thanks for sharing this article!


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