We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. Click here to find out more. Allow cookies
Professional Life and Work

Studying Teachers' Lives

Studying Teachers' Lives - problems and possibilities

Crucial to the move to life history is a change in the nature of collaboration. The teacher becomes less a teller of stories and more of a general investigator; the external researcher is more than a listener and elicitor of stories and is actively involved in textual and contextual construction. In terms of give and take, I would argue that a more viable trading point can be established. This trading point, by focusing on lives in context, provides a new focus to develop our joint understandings of schooling. By providing this dialogue of a 'story of action within a theory of context' a new context is provided for collaboration. In the end, the teacher researcher can collaborate in investigating not only the stories of lives but the contexts of lives. Such collaboration should provide new understandings for all of us concerned with the world of schooling.

This development of a trading point for collaboration does not solve or mitigate the problem of co-option through collaboration. The history of academics collaborating with teachers is not encouraging in this regard. The life history places this issue of the relationship of collaboration at the centre of our concerns.

A number of the chapters offer strategies devised in answer to the problems of data co-option by powerful interest groups or academic researchers. Measor and Sikes invoke the notion of 'sociology as participation' and argue that the best ethical safe- guards derive from the process of respondent validation by which they mean 'returning the processed accounts to the informant for appraisal and to check the accuracy of the data'. One should, I think, add 'allow the respondent to decide on the dissemination of the data' for this life story giver should always be viewed as the owner of the data and the ultimate arbiter of its use.

For this and other reasons I find the more collaborative modes of research the most hopeful avenues for resolving some of the ethical and methodological dilemmas, although as we shall see they open up new questions. Collaborative work on teachers' lives would in my view seek to cut across the academic division of labour as defined by Casey, for if we see teachers as active in making their own history they must also be offered the opportunity to theorize their history. In this sense I agree with Kushner and Norris that we should offer teachers: 'The dignity of contributing to theorizing about their words... [and] through sharing meaning production... [to] develop significant understandings of schools and education.'

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Next page

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
  • Available in:
  • Appears in:
    Studying Teachers' Lives
  • Paperback
  • Price of book: £42.99
  • ISBN: 978-0-415-06858-1
  • Purchase this book:
  • Buy used and new from: Amazon