A narrative study of teachers' life stories and their work identity

Heaton, Pamela Jane (1999) A narrative study of teachers' life stories and their work identity. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




Media coverage of the poor state of this country's education system has described public images of the teaching profession which provide a context for the research described in this paper. The research is concerned with how and to what extent work identity is reflected in the life stories of five female teachers from a rural village in the Eastern Cape. A social constructionist approach is taken to the meaning and construction of identity, and the paper describes the process of a narrative method of analyzing and interpreting the stories. An initial analysis reveals that the participants had few career options and little choice of career. Further analysis is concerned with interpreting how the teachers create coherence in their stories around this lack of choice as well as within the larger social and historical context. Simultaneously there is an interpretation of the participants' work identity. The teachers create coherence in their narratives around their families and their socioeconomic or cultural circumstances, but make no explicit reference to the political context of their work choices, which were made in the context of the restraints of the Apartheid era. From each teacher's story an understanding of their unique work identity emerges. These alternative understandings provide a contrast to the images constructed by the media.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Identity, Psychology, Teachers, Women teachers, Education, South Africa, Eastern Cape
Subjects:L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Psychology
ID Code:2238
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:23 Nov 2011 08:30
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:22
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