If children are to succeed and progress at school, schools and teachers need to understand how children experience the classroom. What do they think? How does school make them feel? This book brings together the author’s work on children’s classroom experiences in a variety of contexts. The author uses student voice to show what children think of classrooms, tasks, tests and exams, and how this impacts their experience of schooling. Can the classroom experience be transformative for children’s life chances, or is it a trap? Schools and teachers need to take account of student perspectives in the primary school to make it the best experience possible.
Chapter 2: Authority and Authoritarianism in the Classroom
Authority and Authoritarianism in the Classroom
‘Everything just goes blank [when I’m writing] … Sometimes I feel like everyone’s like so much taller than me … and then the teacher’s like really, really big. (Sapphire, year 6)’
Figure 2.1 ‘The teacher’s like, really, really big!’ Picture by year 5 pupil (Hargreaves et al., 2016)
[Page 24]In this chapter, children’s experiences of the teacher’s authority, sometimes manifested as authoritarianism, is explored. In particular, the chapter investigates the influences that an authoritarian approach can have on the day-to-day organisation and culture in the classroom. It aims to lay bare, in some detail, the negative aspects of children’s experiences in the many authoritarian classrooms the world over. My experience of working with other teachers ...