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Student resistance and teacher authority: the demands and dynamics of collaborative learning

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The intersection among discourses of curriculum, pedagogy, and power are increasingly becoming the focus of research and analysis in southern African classrooms as the effects of apartheid, colonialism, and patriarchalism are critiqued for their influences on epistemic and pedagogic policies and practices. This article draws on feminist research on pedagogy to examine the dynamics of teacher and student relations in southern African university classrooms. In particular, it focuses on student resistance to engaging in collaborative work and with radical ideologies in course content. Drawing on case studies it shows that, despite feminist teachers subscribing to egalitarian ideals, when they encounter student resistance to democratic pedagogic strategies and radical course content they resort to normalizing and regulatory postures that reinstate teacher authority in the classroom.

Keywords: co-operative learning; critical pedagogy; student participation; student-centred curriculum; teacher behaviour

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2008

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