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Professional Life and Work

Studying Teachers' Lives

Studying Teachers' Lives - problems and possibilities

This I found most valuable in reading the subsequent account and seeking to develop insights into the nature of interpretation.

The nature of interpretation, the role of the commentary and the nature of the text are all matters of deep and abiding concern in studies of teachers' lives.

A life lived is what actually happens. A life experienced consists of the images; feelings, sentiments, desires, thoughts, and meaning known to the person whose life is... A life as told, as life history, is a narrative, influenced by the cultural conventions of telling, by the audience, and by the social context[i].

The 'life as told' needs, I think, to be further divided into two distinctive modes: the 'life as told' by the person who lived and experienced the life (the life story) and the 'life as told' when the life story teller and another researcher collaborate to produce an inter-textual/inter-contextual account (the life history). We are left with four levels: life as lived, life as experienced, life as told and life history.

The teacher's life then operates at a number of intersections.

First, there is the personal intersection for as Denzin has argued a life is lived on two levels which he characterizes the surface and the deep.

At the surface level, the person iswhat he or she does in everyday doings, routines, and daily tasks. At the deep level, the person is a feeling, moral, sacred inner self. This deep inner self may only infrequently be shown to others[ii].

[i] Bruner, E.M. (1984) 'The opening up of anthropology', pp. 1-18 in Bruner, E.M. Text, Play and Story: The Construction and Reconstruction of Self and Society, Washington, D.C.: The American Ethnological Society, p.7.

[ii] Denzin, N.K. (1989) Interpretive Biography, London and Delhi: Sage, p. 29.

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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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