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Second, students experience the profound contradictions in their communicative prerogatives: the role in Maplehurst includes only very limited participation in disagreements about school knowledge even, ironically, in a lesson that calls explicitly for such participation. The disagreement about Mary begins when Mr. Bradley turns the class to a consideration of the secretary's ability to earn communicative power in the fictional group discussing drugs and drinking in a high school: < previous page page_32 If you like this book, buy it!
In lower-track classrooms, more than in regular-track classrooms, disagreements are resolved by the teacher. Teachers quickly stop exchanges between students, re-assert their authority in regard to the "right answer," and discredit the opinions of students' peers. By contrast, in regular classes, Maplehurst teachers not only allow disagreements to continue longer and close them with more equivocation, but they direct students to disagree directly with each other. Teachers seem to encourage and relish disagreements, interpreting them as confirmation of the intellectual rigor that they, as expert professionals, generate.
Next page > < previous page page_41 next page > Page 41 en'scommunicative power. Other studentsmajority or minority may experience similar feelings of power when they withdraw from active participation in class activities. By making teachers "pull teeth" to secure their involvement in recitations, lower-track students reassert their significance as classroom actors. Furthermore, while these processes also occur in regular classes, the dynamic is particularly charged in lower-track classes where teachers' ambiguous role definition for students promotes conditions in which participants can find themselves at cross-purposes.