Understanding teacher identity from a symbolic interactionist perspective : two ethnographic narratives.
- Authors: Smit, Brigitte , Fritz, Elzette
- Date: 2008
- Subjects: Educational change , Narrative inquiry , Symbolic interactionism , Teacher identity
- Type: Article
- Identifier: uj:5763 , ISSN 2076-3433 , http://hdl.handle.net/10210/7770
- Description: In this ethnographic inquiry we portray two teacher narratives reflecting educational change in the context of two South African schools. The study was conducted as part of a larger inquiry into ten schools in urban South Africa. A decade of democracy begs some attention to educational progress and reform, from the viewpoint of teachers and with the culture of their schools as the inquiry’s landscape. We present two ethnographic narratives, crafted of a typical ‘township/rural’ school, and an established Afrikaans school, with two teachers as the main social actors. Data were sourced from passive observations, interviews, informal conversations, and journal data. These field texts were analysed for content and narrative using, as methodological frame, the ‘Clandininian’ “metaphorical three-dimensional inquiry space”. Three data themes, teacher authority, commitment to the profession in terms of staying or leaving, and multitasking are theorised from a symbolic interactionist framework, using constructs such as situational, social and personal identity. The major finding of this inquiry speaks to the power of the working context, the educational landscape, which appears to be a much stronger force in the development of teacher identity than national educational policies.
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'n Etnografiese studie van 'n skool in verandering
- Authors: Fritz, Elzette
- Date: 2011-12-06
- Subjects: Educational change
- Type: Thesis
- Identifier: uj:1795 , http://hdl.handle.net/10210/4159
- Description: D.Ed. , This study is my account, as an educational psychologist and newly educated educational ethnographer, of how a school community experiences major social political change. I had ventured into a school to inquire into matters related to educational psychology and found a culture in flux- a school in crisis. The notion of an ethnographic inquiry was conceived at the time when I realised that broader systemic changes were impacting the school to the extent where the institution became a concert, to some degree a Bakhtinian medieval carnival -thus the style and format, or design type of the study. The research, which had commenced as a conventional qualitative inquiry, metamorphosed into something of a critical ethnography, written up as an integrated account of research, narrative and also, ultimately, as a way of doing school counselling. The study is thus presented as an illustrated account of what I observed, interpreted, and came to understand at some levels. My interaction with children experiencing learning and developmental barriers in my private practice, led me to the decision to interrogate the impact that change has on their behaviour and their emotional experience. In my initial assumption, I considered the policy change with regard to the 'national' curriculum to be the major change confronting school communities. My interaction as a participant observer in a predominant white, Afrikaans primary school on the East Rand during the course of 1999 introduced me to their experience of chaos in a rapidly changing world as reflected in a changing education system. Curriculum 2005 seemed of little consequence in their struggle against redeployment, uncertainty, poverty, crime and a general sense of futility and isolation. During the course of the year, their preparation for the school variety concert, known in these schools as a "revue", commanded specific attention, due to the amount of time, energy and money invested in presenting a concert of outstanding quality. Through the use of an ethnographic methodology, I tried to capture their story, using the songs sung in the concert to present the framework of the ethnographic stage on which I was planning to present the findings emanating from the inquiry.
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