Teachers' anecdotes : access to cultural perspectives through narrative analysis
Teachers often tell anecdotes about children or classroom events. Such accounts are regarded as oral narratives of personal experience which are a natural part of teacher-to-teacher talk in occupational culture. In this thesis, models of narrative analysis are reviewed from the disciplines of sociology and sociolinguistics, psychology, literature and anthropology. In the empirical work, nearly one thousand narratives told by primary teachers were elicited in interviews or recorded in teachers' meetings. These are analysed in terms of their content and tellers' perspectives, both of which are considered elements of teachers' culture. Through narrative analysis a picture of primary teaching is built up, as portrayed by teachers. Particular narrative themes focussed upon include children who stand out, breakthroughs in learning, teachers' planning and teachers' experiences of disaster, humour and 'awkward' parents. Based on the analysis of these themes a number of models of teachers' cultural perspectives are suggested. The study proposes that narrative analysis can be used to study the cultural perspectives of occupational groups, in this case of teachers.