Extreme teaching and the politics of teachers’ working conditions at the peripheries of the Mexican education system


  • Charles Stephen Keck

Palabras clave:

teacher quality discourse, neo-liberalism, education policy, working conditions, extreme teaching, educational change


The term ‘extreme teaching’ refers to a combination of working conditions that appear to make teaching impossibly difficult for indigenous teachers’ at the periphery of the Mexican education system. An attention to the reality of teaching conditions ‘on the ground’ creates a counterweight to the theoretical universalisms of education policy, and more specifically to the discourse of teacher quality that position teachers as autonomous professionals, ‘free’ to become fully competent if motivated and ‘incentivized’. A broad overview of the characteristics of indigenous teachers’ experience and working conditions is followed by a discussion of factors inhibiting all-important communication and critical dialogue between teachers. I argue that in the diminished professional environment of extreme teaching the teacher quality discourse and its contemporary policy technologies become particularly dissonant, if not surreal. By way of conclusion I argue that the neo-liberal agenda can be better contextualized and understood by paying greater attention to teachers’ working conditions, especially at the margins of education as they become increasingly permeated by its discourses. Such an attention would help avoid a bad fit between policy and reality and help create a more teacher centred agenda for educational change.


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Biografía del autor/a

Charles Stephen Keck

PhD in Education, Institute of Education, University of London. Researcher at Department of Society and Culture, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur. His research interests are teacher identity, teacher formation, professional ethics, reflexivity, practices and technologies of the self.


Como citar este artículo: Keck, Ch. (enero-junio, 2016). Extreme teaching and the politics of teachers’ working conditions at the peripheries of the Mexican education system. Sinéctica, 46. Recuperado de: https://sinectica.iteso.mx/index.php/SINECTICA/article/view/629





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