Showtime: the biopolitical performance of ‘effective beginning science teacher’

  • Maria F. G. WallaceEmail author
Original Paper


Over the past decade, neoliberal practices for ensuring teacher effectiveness have shaped the landscape of education. In the midst of policy mandates for highly effective teachers, a biopolitical movement also undergirds the desire for a particular kind of ideal classroom. Grounded in traditions of scientism, beginning science teachers and their practices are implicitly and explicitly subjected to biopolitical control. The central question of this research includes: How does the desire to standardized science teacher practice through regular government-mandated evaluation of science teacher teachers produce biopolitical subjects? Using post-qualitative inquiry, this study examines ethnographic moments with one beginning science teacher alongside one teacher evaluation rubric used for formal teacher evaluation to explore ontological considerations for the implicated subjects. By illuminating the intra-active relationship between micro- and macro-discourses within one high school science classroom, the depths to which biopower functions is made visible. The paper concludes by calling science teacher educators and those responsible for their induction to examine the multifaceted ethical dilemmas inherently shaping their work with beginning science teachers.


Postqualitative Teacher effectiveness Science education Biopolitics Neoliberalism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationMillsaps CollegeJacksonUSA

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