Authority in Educational Relationships

Journal of Moral Education 29 (3):323-337 (2000)
Abstract
The authority of educators in general, and the authority of the moral educator in particular, are central and pervasive themes in John Wilson's writings. This paper summarises his account of authority in educational relationships, not simply by describing the results of his analysis, but by reconstructing his views in terms of some basic distinctions between different types of authority, in particular the distinction between practical and theoretical authority, and the one between de jure and de facto authority. Next, the paper explores the rather neglected topic of parental authority, applying the same distinctions between basic types of authority. It is argued that the authority of the parent is in important respects different from the authority standardly ascribed to the teacher. Finally, some comments are made on the complex question of whether or not authoritative parental supervision is essential to the upbringing of children and their growth into adult people
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