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Dance article

sshameti's picture

In Dance's "Tough Fronts" article, she writes, "Unlike adult-to-adult social relations, teacher-to-student relations are asymmetrical: teachers are in a better position than students to possess mainstream social (and cultural) capital resources that students need. Students have little to offer except future promise of educational success." I'd like to push back on this statement and some of the ideas it's laying out; while I agree that teacher-to-student relations can involve an asymmetrical power dynamic, I think the idea that teachers are in a better position to possess social/cultural capital and that students can only offer future educational success goes against the idea of the bi-directional relationship that Dance says makes a teacher a "good" one. If a teacher is entering a school in a place they aren't necessarily familiar with, the students in their classroom will likely have a different cultural background that the teacher will have to pick up on and learn in order to incorporate it into their teaching (because as we've discussed, "good" teaching involves being culturally aware and responsive to your students). In a case like that, I would say the students have the upper hand in terms of cultural capital; even though it may not be the "mainstream," it is still a possession of knowledge that the teacher needs and doesn't have. This also goes along with the idea that students are more than just "future educational successes;" they can teach educators many things, as well - including a different culture. I think part of what makes a teacher caring is the willingness to receive what students have to offer.