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Professional Life and Work

Studying Teachers' Lives

Studying Teachers' Lives - problems and possibilities

A number of other nations, notably Britain are seeking to emulate many of these characteristics of the US system. In such times, educational studies which re-assert the importance of the teacher's voice are particularly valuable in building a knowledgeable counter-culture to stand against some of the cruder simplicities of political and 'managerial' views of schooling.

In this volume we have taken, as a starting point, work which focuses on studying teachers' lives. The intention has been to bring together a range of work within this genre so as to highlight the breadth of approaches and methodologies currently on offer. The volume therefore acts as a complement to the work of scholars already established in this field[i]. Some of the scholars in this volume are new to the field, but their work is, I think, both innovative and generative and points to exploration of new directions in studying teachers' lives.

In fact one of the most striking features of the studies in this volume is the range of approaches employed by the authors in studying teachers' lives. Such a range of studies provides its own set of opportunities: for the reader can assess the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches and focus on a number of important themes which emerge from within this collection. In this, the concluding chapter, I want to raise some methodological and ethical issues which I think the studies in this collection confront.

Some of the methodological questions are best raised by pointing to differences between the studies. To start with there is the question of the process that has been employed in developing the accounts provided in this collection. Specifically, the question of how explicit the authors are about the process of generating and interpreting data. Some authors provide very little account of process (for instance, Knowles) most authors provide some account, while some authors provided very detailed accounts (for instance, Butt et al., Casey, Nelson). For instance, on pages 62-4 (Butt et al.) or pages 168-70 (Nelson) one is provided with a fairly clear description of the process and methodology of the research.

[i] For instance, Peter Woods, Mary Lou Holly and Michael Huberman

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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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