DOI: 10.1177/00224294231190404 ISSN:

A Beginning Music Teacher’s Micropolitical Literacy Development

Ryan D. Shaw
  • Music
  • Education

When teachers and school staff work together, it inevitably involves issues of power, influence, diplomacy, and cooperation; this has been termed “micropolitics,” and the ability to read situations with micropolitics in mind has been identified as “micropolitical literacy.” The purpose of this year-long case study was to explore one beginning music teacher’s micropolitical literacy development with explicit connections to the framework put forth by Kelchtermans and Ballet. The research questions were (1) How does the participant describe their micropolitical understanding? (2) How does the participant describe their micropolitical strategies? and (3) How does the participant feel about their micropolitical literacy? Qualitative analysis of interview transcripts suggested themes aligned with the theoretical framework’s aspects of know (understanding), do (strategies), and feel (experiential). The participant’s knowledge development focused on power dynamics, structures, and relationships. Strategies included gaining clout and reframing situations. Furthermore, the participant’s experience of micropolitical literacy development was fraught with negative emotions and uncertainty. Overall, literacy development was stymied by systemic challenges in the district.