The Life Stories of Teachers in Post Compulsory Education: A Narrative Exploration of Teacher Identity
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AuthorsHooker, Barbara Ann
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThis thesis centres on a narrative inquiry of the life stories of teachers in Post Compulsory Education with the aim of exploring how the ‘self’ is constructed within discursive environments. The study adopts a dialogical approach to narrative identity formation as an ongoing process of becoming within the life course. Grounded in social construction theory (Gergen 2009), the study acknowledges that identity is fluid and determined by context; self-creation is therefore both a collective and individual endeavour situated within the social and cultural context. The research design centres on an in-depth study of four teachers in the exploration of the meanings constructed from autobiographical memories; in addition, the study explores how narrative meanings are mediated within the organisational and political context of being a teacher. The study adopts a psychosocial perspective (McAdams 2006) to life stories and the analysis of narrative construction is conducted through the lens of dialogical self theory with the aim of exploring the multivoiced nature of the self based on a diversity of self-positions (Hermans 2001). Narrative identities are therefore viewed as relational, individuals position themselves within the stories they tell in relation to a particular audience; individuals are also positioned by the social and cultural environment in which they are embedded. The study contributes to current knowledge in relation to the crucial role emotions play in the dialogical construction of the self; findings indicate that early emotionally charged autobiographical memories play a significant role in defining individuals’ moral educational values within their teaching role. Emotions were also central to placing individuals in a field of tension in reconciling their personal values within the current organisational and political environment that imposes constraints on teachers’ professional practice. The study concludes that in order to sustain the moral purpose of teachers’ professional practice, there is a need for the dialogical renewal of the self through transformative discourse.
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Education.