Teachers as political actors

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Reid, A, McCallum, F & Dobbins, R 1989, 'Teachers as political actors', Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 247-259.

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In this paper the authors argue that contrary to official rhetoric, education is a political process and teachers are political actors who operate in a number of political arenas. Contemporary political processes, it is suggested have marginalized the voices of teachers, constructed teachers as technicians and limited the transformative potential of education work. If teachers are to wrest back greater control over their work, they will need to engage in concerted political action. This requires teachers to be politically literate and politically active. The development of such skills and attitudes should not be left to chance, and it is maintained that political education should be placed at the core of teacher education programmes. This paper explores the nature of the political skills, understandings and attitudes which should be central to teacher education and an attempt to achieve this is outlined by reference to a preservice programme in which this is attempted.