Classroom Politics - Overview
Are there politics in school? In the classroom? On campus? In the teachers' lounge? Ask yourself the following questions and see what you think:
- Are you the 'Teacher's Pet'? Have you ever been?
- Is your campus controlled by Liberal Professors?
- How much power should students have over what they learn in the classroom?
- Should Intelligent Design theory be taught in science classes?
- What do voters want? Better education?
Politics is inherent in education and can be experienced at all levels: the classroom, a school district, a university campus, an elementary school, a government department of education. All of these venues are organizations and, as such, are playgrounds for political behavior (pun intended).
Henry Kissinger is credited with saying "University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small." Maybe. But, why are the stakes so small? Who makes that decision? Is it a political decision?
Where do Jung's Pyschological Types fit in with all these questions? Consider the following:
- Studies show college professors (particularly at research universities) tend to prefer intuition more so than the general poplulation. Could the intuitive preference for change and possibilities be one reason professors might be more politically liberal than the general population?
- Are Extraverts more likely than Introverts to be "teachers' pets"?
- Does a teacher's type influence her teaching style and thus influence how she plays politics in the class? How she deals with her legitimate authority? How she handles conflict? Is classroom management a political act?
"This is a great discovery, education is politics! After that, when a teacher discovers that he or she is a politician, too, the teacher has to ask, What kind of politics am I doing in the classroom?"
— Paulo Freire, A Pedagogy for Liberation (with Ira Shor)