In contrast to the plethora of literature that suggests that the increasing gulf between teachers and young people is due to the shifting interests and expectations of young people, the focus of this paper is on the roles teachers play in this relationship. Provoking interest is a concern that some of the assumptions that underpin 'mainstream' pedagogic theory and practice might actually contribute, albeit unwittingly, to hardening rather than softening the communication divide. Drawing on an incident that took place between a group of 7–8 year old males in a primary school setting, the authors reveal the limits of a teaching paradigm that encourages teachers to adopt authoritative positions from which to separate and individualise student behaviour. In theoretical terms, they argue that the application of this paradigm asserts an exaggerated notion of agency to individuals in the construction of identity. In practical terms it promotes processes that individualise behaviour as a way of dealing with miscreance. Together these manifest themselves as a 'pedagogy of separation'. The process of building more productive pedagogic relationships, it is concluded, needs to begin with teachers better recognising and engaging with the collective investments of young people.
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Field of Research
130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified
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