chapter  10
Teachers and adolescents
Pages 12

If the ability of higher education to respond to social pressures and invitations is strongly conditioned by questions of status, the ambiguous position of teacher education within the system has been most strongly conditioned by such considerations. The position of teacher education has reflected the uncertain position of the teacher. On one terrain the teacher can be seen to wield authority, but on a wider one he or she has neither authority nor power. The teachers have been centrally involved in operating the structural changes of recent decades, with at best a marginal role in making the decisions. In the salary stakes the teachers have followed behind the field of stronger, or more influential and status-wielding, professions. With the professionalization of teacher training in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the power over training and selection and entry moved firmly into the hands of the universities, the training colleges and the employers. In the accountability diagram we have sketched in a previous chapter the teachers have been advised, cajoled, bullied, and in recent decades consulted mainly in relation to those areas of education decision-making which are not central to any power structure. And in an effort to preserve their apparent power in 'professional' areas – mainly the curriculum – they have resisted pressures to admit parents and the community into their 'expert' field. In resisting the Taylor Committee's proposals for a wider partnership in the government of schools, the teachers protected their frontiers blindly. In a period when central government and its educational agents were strengthening their position in the decision-making structure, the teachers failed to respond to proposals which could have brought

parents, for example, into an important alliance – not, as many of the teachers saw it, into a position of interference in the teachers' legitimate, professional field. Over this, as over most issues of concern relating to the educational and social condition, the teachers have responded with profound status anxieties. It is not difficult to understand why.