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Professional Life and Work

Studying Teachers' Lives

Studying Teachers' Lives - problems and possibilities

He continues:

Within a tradition the pursuit of goods extends through generations, sometimes through many generations. Hence the individual's search for his or her good is generally and characteristically conducted within a context defined by those traditions of which the individual's life is a part, and this is true both of those goods which are internal to practices and of the goods of a single life. Once again the narrative phenomenon of embedding is crucial: the history of a practice in our time is generally and characteristically embedded in and made intelligible in terms of the larger and longer history of the tradition through which the practice in its present form was conveyed to us; the history of each of our own lives is generally and characteristically embedded in and made intelligible in terms of the larger and longer histories of a number of traditions[i].

In different ways each of the papers in this volume seeks 'to awaken to history' the study of teachers' lives. This may, of course, be facilitated by more conventional life history work (as in Smith et al.; Casey; and Measor and Sikes) , but it may be through exploring oral testimonies historically (Nelson), through exploring the interaction between biography and teaching context (Knowles) or through collaborative autobiography (Butt et al.). In many ways Middleton summarizes the aspirations which are shared by the essays in this volume when she says:

Teachers, as well as their students, should analyse the relationship between their individual biographies, historical events, and the constraints imposed on their personal choices by broader power relations, such as those of class, race and gender.

In providing such inter-contextual analysis the different methodologies highlighted in this volume all provide important avenues. They all combine a concern with telling teachers' stories with an equal concern to provide a broader context for the location, understanding and grounding of those stories.

[i] MacIntyre, A. (1981) After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, London: Duckworth, pp. 20&-7. 

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Studying Teachers' Lives Ivor Goodson
  • Date of publication: 06/02/1992
  • Number of pages (as Word doc): 272
  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Subject:
    Professional Life and Work
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  • Appears in:
    Studying Teachers' Lives
  • Paperback
  • Price of book: £42.99
  • ISBN: 978-0-415-06858-1
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