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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Foucault, power/knowledge, and the recent literature on school improvement Ross, Murray


This thesis examines some of the recent literature on school improvement: namely, teacher effectiveness research, school effectiveness research, and four of the commissioned reports on education that were published in the United States during 1983. The analysis relies on a number of central concepts from the social theory of Michel Foucault, in particular his notions of power/knowledge and discipline. It is argued that these bodies of educational research are in themselves either inadequate or inappropriately employed in policy discussions, and that as a result the manipulation of students and teachers seems reasonable and necessary. It is further argued that the teaching practices and educational policies called for in this research are likely to produce unintended, and undesirable consequences which are completely at odds with the stated goals of school improvement.

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