Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Finefter-Rosenbluh, I.
Between student voice-based assessment and teacher-student relationships: teachers’ responses to ‘techniques of power’ in schools
(2022) British Journal of Sociology of Education

DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2022.2080043

This paper draws upon Foucault’s problematisation of governmentality analysis to explore teacher interviews from Australian secondary schools, where student voice was ‘enacted’ within a teacher assessment reform strategy. By bringing teacher voices into relation with theory, it illustrates how the current ‘sociality of performativity’ is situating student voice-based assessment initiatives as power apparatuses of teacher surveillance that shape teacher-student relationships. The analysis portrays teachers’ responses to such ‘techniques of power’, employing forms of auditable commodification, physical proximity, and reflective practice as a means of managing student voice ‘risk’. In so doing, the teachers relegated teacher-student relationships to the margins, struggling to profess an ethic of care; paradoxically disadvantaging students through voice initiatives intended to advance them. Demonstrating how affective fundamentals are eclipsed by performative-invested practices, the analysis highlights the discursive policy contestations of rapport and performance that should be taken into consideration in future implementations of student voice-based assessment initiatives. © 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Author Keywords
Assessment; ethic of care; governmentality; student voice; teacher-student relationships

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