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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: Practising Power: Parent-Teacher Consultations in Early Years Settings
Author(s): MacKinnon, Rhona, I.
Supervisor(s): Allan, Julie
Keywords: Foucault
Early Years
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This research explores parent-teacher consultations in a range of early years settings. Data were collected from eighteen audio-recorded parent-teacher consultations from six different settings and from follow up interviews with parents and teachers. The data related to the consultations and participants’ direct experience of these and revealed the practices of power within these consultations. Using a Foucauldian approach to analysis, the exercise of power and its impact on the parent-teacher relationship was explored. The analysis revealed the ways in which surveillance, normalising judgements and the ‘examination’ of all involved in the reporting process to parents, constitutes an exercise of power. Within the consultation parents, teachers and children are positioned as subjects who are homogenised and judged accordingly. Conversely, the presentation of observations and assessment information leads to the individualisation of children, allowing classifications and comparisons to be made in relation to a particular set of ‘truths’ about what it is to be a child, a parent and a teacher. Throughout the consultations parents and teachers assert and defend their positions and in doing so, attempts at resistance are evident. The findings of the research open up new possibilities for challenging existing modes of practice in parent-teacher consultations. These include implications for initial teacher education and CPD programmes, in order to develop awareness of the way in which power is exercised through parent-teacher interactions and the effects it can have. The need for policy makers to take greater account of the exercise of power when developing policies in relation to partnership with parents, and indeed in evaluating the impact of existing policy is also identified.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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