The Privileges Chart in a Behaviour Class: Seeing the Power and Complexity of Dominant Traditions and Unconcealing Trust as Basic to Pedagogical Relationships

  • Christopher Matthew Gilham University of Calgary


Through an anecdote this interpretive work suggests that a chart on student privileges in a class for students with behavioural challenges led to an understanding of dominant traditions at play and the power such traditions can hold over educators. These complexly intertwined traditions included the efficiency movement, the norm, and market capitalism’s emphasis on personal rights. These traditions set the conditions for an abused and exclusive notion of privileges for particular students. This led the teacher and me to question who decides student rights and for whom do such rights apply. We were then able to talk about how the teacher came to understand his students through pedagogical relationships built on trust rather than a singular belief in the rights of each student. This paper also attempts to show the above understandings involved an investigative labouring to dialogue with the topic and that such effort is worth-while because we were able to return to or recover some ‘basics’ within pedagogical relationships.

Keywords: behaviour, special education, interpretation, tradition, discourse, rights, trust, pedagogy

Author Biography

Christopher Matthew Gilham, University of Calgary

PhD student

Interpretive Studies, Graduate Division of Educational Rearch

Faculty of Education, University of Calgary