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‘Making a Difference’: What it means for early career teachers working in designated disadvantaged schools
Burns, Gareth
Given the increasing influence of overly rationalistic and technicist views of teaching, it is even more difficult to imagine education as a transformative praxis (Apple, 2005, 2011, Lmgard & Keddie, 2013) By viewing themselves as public intellectuals and cultural workers, teachers can ‘make a difference’ in terms of social justice Focusing specifically on Irish primary teachers m disadvantaged schools, this study explores early career teachers’ understandings of ‘making a difference’ and what shape this takes m their day-to-day practice This study defines ‘early career teachers’ as those with a minimum of three and a maximum of nine years teaching experience. The literature indicates that while the experiences of teachers m the early stages of their professional lives has become a topic of interest for Irish researchers, much of it has been concerned with teachers in the first five years of their careers No previously published research has provided critical socio-cultural analysis of the life worlds of Irish early career teachers. In order to explore and shine light on the professional lived experiences of early career teachers, a narrative life history methodology grounded m phenomenology was adopted Semi-structured, life-history interviews were conducted with 18 participants drawn from three urban designated disadvantaged schools The factors and processes that shape the professional identities, felt responsibilities and practices of early career teachers were investigated and explored through their stones of becoming and being teacher. The study’s empirical findings are integrated with concepts drawn from critical educator and sociology discourses, equality perspectives, and teacher identity literatures There were two distinct and contradictory views of ‘making a difference’ articulated in participants’ understandings of ‘making a difference’. The first view was concerned with working towards sameness m the name of equality and making a difference In response to academic and policy demands, this view of ‘making a difference’ was characterised by pedagogies of sameness and understandings of equality as sameness The second view was underpinned by a caring ethic that characterised their educational relationships, and was m tension with these pedagogies and practices of sameness. This research concludes that the concept of ‘making a difference’ is complex, and the variation in situations m which it is produced and articulated means that it is best understood as a context, career-stage and habitus specific idea It is also a fluid and relational concept that is capable of evolution and change, with positive and negative implications for teaching and learning The study concludes that it is through engagement with the political, as well as the moral, ethical and emotional dimensions of teaching that teachers can continue to make a significant difference to students’ lives.
Keyword(s): Education; Disadvantaged Schools; Teaching
Publication Date:
Type: Other
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Contributor(s): O'Brien, Maeve
Institution: Dublin City University
Citation(s): Burns, Gareth (2014) ‘Making a Difference’: What it means for early career teachers working in designated disadvantaged schools. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
Publisher(s): Dublin City University. Institute of Education
File Format(s): application/pdf
Related Link(s):
First Indexed: 2018-12-07 06:21:19 Last Updated: 2019-02-09 06:07:30