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Title: Teachers through the looking glass : an enquiry into the public image of teachers
Author: Radford, Linda Margaret.
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2004
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Looking back over a long career as a secondary school English teacher prompted the reflection that during my professional lifetime something of former value has been lost by teachers. I tentatively attributed this to an apparent deterioration in the way in which teachers are perceived by other members of society, and it is this supposition and its implications that this dissertation explores. My concern was, in part, personal. More significant was my growing belief that this seemingly negative perception of teachers was - and is - discouraging able graduates from embarking on a career in education, demoralising serving teachers, and consequently damaging the schooling of pupils, who are our central concern. Given that images are socially constructed, I located my work within the symbolic interactionist paradigm, and explored perceptions from a range of sources. I first investigated ways in which teachers are depicted in books recommended to pupils through the National Curriculum for English, and from English public examination prescribed texts; I subsequently expanded data through interviews with teachers and other members of society, through analysis of newspaper reports and articles, and through consideration of views obtained from pupils. Data confirmed that teachers are generally conceptualised negatively, and thus, in the populist sense, as non-professionals. However, there is evidence, too, of more positive perceptions. I deduce that teacher-image is characterised by ambivalence, and irony, and is vulnerable to change. Moreover, setting teacher-image against its socio-historic background implies that this ambiguity of perception symptomises prevailing attitudes to education. Thus, current initiatives - which may be interpreted as intended,in part, to reconceptualise teacher-image - could suggest recent recognition of the importance of conveying positive perceptions of teachers, in order to recruit and retain competent and committed practitioners.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available