Damien Page, The surveillance of teachers and the simulation of teaching, Journal Of Education Policy Vol. 32 , Iss. 1, 2017
Just as surveillance in general has become more sophisticated, penetrative and ubiquitous, so has the surveillance of teachers. Enacted through an assemblage of strategies such as learning walks, parental networks, student voice and management information systems, the surveillance of teachers has proliferated as a means of managing the risks of school life, driven forward by neoliberal notions of quality and competition. However, where once the surveillance of teachers was panoptic, a means of detecting the truth of teaching behind fabrications, this article argues that surveillance within schools has become a simulation in Baudrillard’s terms, using models and codes such as the Teachers’ Standards and the Schools Inspection Handbook as predictors of future outcomes, simulating practice as a means of managing risk. And if surveillance in schools has become a simulation, then so perhaps has teaching itself, moving beyond a preoccupation with an essentialist truth of teaching to the hyperreality of normalised visibility and the simulation of teaching. This article argues that surveillance – including external agencies such as Ofsted – no longer exists to find the truth of teaching, the surveillance of teachers exists only to test the accuracy of the models and codes upon which the simulation is based.
Keywords: Surveillance of teachers, education policy, teacher standards, simulation and simulacra, teacher authenticity, critical analysis