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Manufacturing consensus: does pedagogy shape what is common sense?

conference contribution
posted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Matthew ThomasMatthew Thomas
This paper is concerned with how the everyday aspects of teaching and learning work to reinforce pedagogy as a mechanism for normalizing consensus ideology. In other words, within the context of schooling, particular beliefs are sanctioned as ‘common sense’ and pedagogy reinforces common sense ‘positionalit[ies]’ (Maher & Tetreault, 1993, p. 118). Hence it is argued that everyday aspects of teaching and learning create common sense positionality, or default positions for both teacher and student. Forming part of a larger PhD study about why and how do teachers teach, post 9/11, the paper tells tales from Victorian schools. These tales unearth common-sense assumptions which are then critically analysed to illustrate how ‘classroom experience has a hegemonic influence by controlling the range of alternatives that can be considered’ (Denscombe, 1982, p. 259) thereby rendering consensus belief as the individual’s belief. A combination of semi-structured interviews and photo elicitation methods are employed and through the analytical lens of iconography, a close up examination of two teachers and two students from Victorian schools are presented. Fuelled by the work of W.J.T. Mitchell, the paper supports the position that images capture values and beliefs hidden in the participants’ worlds, which work to shape identity by sustaining consensus ideologies about how the world should be. Through the images of the researched and their life narratives, the power relations and the ‘operative forces in a sociopolitical reality’ (Mitchell, 2011, p. xvii) of the researched are explored.



Adelaide, S. Aust.

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Publication classification

E2.1 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed

Copyright notice

2013, AARE

Title of proceedings

AARE 2013: Shaping Australian Educational Research. Proceedings of the Australian Association for Research in Education Annual International Conference


Australian Association for Research in Education. Annual International Conference (2013 : Adelaide, S. Aust.)


Australian Association for Research in Education

Place of publication

[Adelaide, S. Aust.]