‘Control must be maintained’: exploring teachers’ pedagogical practice outside the classroom

Melissa Glackin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
547 Downloads (Pure)


Drawing on qualitative data, this article presents an analysis of six secondary science teachers’ expectations and practices related to teaching outdoors during a professional development programme. Using Foucault’s and Bernstein’s theories of ‘space’, routines and set practices, I argue that participant teachers’ fear of losing control of their students when in contexts outside the classroom was constructed as place specific in terms of boundaries (or lack of), familiarity and disturbance. Teachers’ ‘fearful’ expectations when outside triggered the initial use of regulatory technologies that were frequently more assertive and controlling than their usual classroom practice, resulting in increased authoritative teaching approaches. However, once technologies of power were developed for use outside, teachers were able to translate and apply their normal dialogic teaching approaches from the classroom. The article concludes with a discussion of student self-regulation through collaborative group work as a step towards resolving the tensions between dialogic pedagogy and teaching in new contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-76
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Issue number1
Early online date30 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Bernstein
  • Foucault
  • outdoor learning
  • Outdoor teaching
  • professional development


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