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The crisis of authority in our postmodern society has been thoroughly discussed in the last few decades (Arendt, 1954; Metz, 1978; Arum, 2003). There may be various reasons for this: challenge or even loss of established traditions, distortion of moral values, economic and sociocultural globalization, new technologies and media, social liberalization and emancipation and/or a combination of several factors. It has a logical implication that there is a huge impact of these changes on the system of education, which is a crucial part of the process of socialisation. As a consequence of such shift in values across the majority of societies, teachers tend to struggle with exercising authority in class. Since it is a major problem in contemporary education, it seems only natural to try to understand the current bases of teacher authority and compare them in different sociocultural environments.
The course aims to contribute to the current understanding of teacher authority with focus on possible interpretations of this phenomenon as well as on research methods and instruments which can be used to acquire data about various factors influencing the development and exercising of teacher authority. Based on the OCW study materials about authority, newly gained knowledge of different research methods and instruments and online debates concerning various factors influencing teacher authority the participants will choose a survey sample and collaboratively design research questionnaires, which will afterwards be carried out in their respective countries. The most important outcome of the course as far as its international impact is concerned will be the comparison of results of analysed research data and their joint interpretation, which should help understand current factors involved in the development and exercising of teacher authority in different sociocultural contexts.