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The Decentered Teacher and the Construction of Social Space in the Virtual Classroom


by Dorothea Anagnostopoulos , Kevin G Basmadjian & Raven S Mccrory — 2005

The relative newness of online education to most teachers and students means that the virtual classroom is largely uncharted social space; teachers and students must deliberately consider how and when they will enter into the virtual classroom and where and how they will locate themselves and each other within it. This study uses the concepts of "time-space separation" and "disembedding," drawn from Giddens's work on globalization, to identify how teachers and students in one virtual classroom constructed social relations in synchronous and asynchronous Web-based forums. Using discourse-analytic methods, the study illuminates the discursive processes through which the teacher and students rearticulated conventional classroom discourse to create hybrid, student-controlled/teacher-centered spaces. The authors identify the challenges and potentials of such classrooms for teachers and raise several questions for further investigation into, and theorizing about, teaching and teachers' work in the virtual classroom.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 107 Number 8, 2005, p. 1699-1729
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12093, Date Accessed: 12/13/2017 11:29:30 PM

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About the Author
  • Dorothea Anagnostopoulos
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    DOROTHEA ANAGNOSTOPOULOS is an assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University. Her research interests include the social organization of teaching and learning and the social analysis of educational policy implementation, with a focus on urban high schools. Recent publications include “Testing Texts: External Testing and Student Engagement with Literature in Urban Classrooms” (Research in the Teaching of English, 2003) and “The New Accountability, Student Failure and Teachers’ Work in Urban High Schools” (Educational Policy, 2003).
  • Kevin Basmadjian
    Michigan State University
    KEVIN G. BASMADJIAN is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University. His research interests include teacher learning, urban teacher education, and dialogic instruction in multicultural high school English classrooms. Recent publications include “Writing With Technology: Promise or Peril?” (in J. Alsup & J. Bush, Eds., But Will It Work With Real Students? forthcoming) and “On Learning to Teach English Teachers: A Model of Mentoring” (with E. Smith, L. Kirell, & S. Koziol, English Education, 2003).
  • Raven Mccrory
    Michigan State University
    RAVEN (WALLACE) MCCRORY is an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education at Michigan State University. Her research interests include teacher knowledge and learning in mathematics and technology, and teaching and learning in online environments. Recent publications include “Online Learning in Higher Education: A Review of Research on Interactions Among Teachers and Students” (Education Communication and Information, 2003) and “The Internet as a Site for Changing Practice: The Case of Ms. Owens” (Research in Science Education, 2002).
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