The blame game : mechanistic conceptions of teacher education and its impact on schooling

Isaacs, Tracey. ; Waghid, Yusef (2015)

CITATION: Isaacs, T. & Waghid, Y. 2016. The blame game : mechanistic conceptions of teacher education and its impact on schooling. South African Journal of Higher Education, 29(6):106–123, doi:10.20853/29-6-546.

The original publication is available at http://www.journals.ac.za/index.php/sajhe

Article

With all the policy directives and reform initiatives post-democracy, education in South Africa is seemingly mechanistic and prodigiously carries productive logic: to produce students, to advance economic development, and so on. The active language of official educational policies is riddled with words such as assessment, efficient, high skills and progression that speaks to a technical rationality bent on turning everything into science to obscure the general meaning. In this way the process of education is comparable to a sophisticated, intellectual machine the more complex the machine becomes, the less control and understanding the teachers have of it (Braverman, 1974). In this article, we consider the ways classroom and university teachers have been brutalized through bureaucratic processes and an allegiance to technical rationality, even while we imagine hermeneutic rationality and emancipatory rationality as radical alternatives to recovering the subject in a bureaucratic tangle of educational control.

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