chapter  4
Problematizing Supervision and Teacher Resistance
Pages 17

In this chapter I deconstruct and then reinflect the concept of teacher resistance in order to re-establish it as a polysemic term (i.e. in order to re-establish its multiple meanings) and to unsettle popular misconceptions of supervision.1 Recently, the term teacher resistance has been appropriated by some who define it as only that which is collective and progressive (e.g. Giroux 1981, 1983; McLaren 1985; Walker 1985; Kanpol 1988, 1991).2 Such appropriation runs the risk of placing the observer or reader in an Archimedean position of judging what does and what does not qualify as resistance. In another context Quigley (1992:306) cautioned that such issues cannot ‘be settled by references to vague or ultimate principles whereby we establish yet another hierarchical power arrangement’. Quoting Ryan (1982), Quigley reminds us that ‘[t]he tendency to posit transcendent principles, whether for resistance or power structures, establishes…“a point of authority (an agency), a hierarchical command structure, and a police force”’ (p. 295). Rather, as is the project of this chapter, Quigley (p. 301, fn. 44) admonishes us to ‘make provisional choices…act knowing that the action is not a move toward an answer, a settling of the question, but just the reverse, an unsettling of power’.