Meet the phallic teacher: performing curriculum design and identity in a neoliberal imaginary.

Year: 2015

Author: McKnight, Lucinda

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper introduces the concept of the phallic teacher, a spectral figure that needs to be negotiated in teachers’ everyday work and in school-based disciplinary communities of practice. Reporting the findings of a three year doctoral study completed in 2014, the paper looks closely at how English teachers design both curriculum and identity in an environment where feminist and poststructuralist work of the late 20th century seems to have lost traction.
These observations are based on empirical research in a Victorian school, combined with autoethnographic writing and other materials connecting teachers’ and researchers’ lives to the broader cultural postfeminist debate. The paper makes room for an absent subject, the teacher, marginalised in neoliberal discourses of curriculum and critiques the masculinist hegemony of outcomes and standards-based education. This provides us with new ways to challenge increasingly dominant current paradigms and to conceptualise a different future in which the standpoints of teachers are privileged in curriculum theory and curricular innovation.