Meler-Prince, Rivka, and Lev-On, Azi. 2018. Hi teacher, are you awake? Teacher authority in the class WhatsApp: Student perspectives. In Proceedings of Chase Conference, (Hebrew: המורה, את ערה? סמכות המורה בווטסאפ הכיתתי: פרספקטיבת התלמיד). 262-266

Over the past decade, network-based platforms have become an increasingly integral part of the educational sphere, internet technology being used as a means of communication between teacher and students and teachers and parents, and colleagues. Most of the studies examining social-media-mediated relations between teachers and students conducted to date have analyzed the character and function of these communications in higher-education institutions, few looking at teacher authority and still fewer the perspective of the student. Employing a qualitative analysis, this study thus conducted interviews with 30 girls in a national-religious high school characterized by strict discipline in order to explore the phenomenon from their perspective. The findings evinced two types of class WhatApp groups – one that transmitted learning material, information, and messages, other more socially-oriented. While 80% of those who used the first type believed it strengthened the teacher’s authority, 70% of those employing the second thought that it weakened it. Most of the students also felt that it was easier to challenge teacher authority in the virtual than the classroom space due to the fact that the teacher was not physically present, written discourse demanded less respect, it was simpler to ignore the teacher, and the technology consolidated group pressure.


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