Research as a boundary activity: stories of trainees’ transition into teaching told through an auto/biographical gaze

Dorman, P. (2014) Research as a boundary activity: stories of trainees’ transition into teaching told through an auto/biographical gaze. Ed.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.


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This thesis grew out of a concern shared by others that, in an era in which teacher educators are required to place increasing faith in the utility and objectivity of ideal end-of-training competencies, ‘the messiness, muddle and ambivalence that education is always and inevitably heir to’ (Bainbridge and West, 2012, p.5) and the consequent complexity that typifies student experiences as they learn to teach and make their subsequent transition into
teaching, can be too readily ignored. Drawing on extensive data from interviews, research participant’s self-writing and their contributions to on-line forums, the experiences of two
trainees as they make such a transition into and through their first year of teaching is examined in detail.

As an experienced educator the author makes use of an auto/biographical approach in which aspects of his personal life history are acknowledged both as sources of insight but also as sites of my partiality. The importance of key incidents and individuals in my own development are acknowledged and in so doing, I recognise both the manner in which the familiarity of past experiences can provide a source of insight, but may equally act to shape or
stifle alternate stories.

A range of ‘critical friends’ are used to aid my analysis and to chart both the trainee’s transition to teacher and my own transition to that of auto/biographical researcher. Bourdieu
and Brookfield provide a starting point for an examination of the participants’ reported experiences and the contexts in which they work. Turkle points towards an understanding of the online world where identities can be created, played with and critically evaluated. Mezirow and Dirkx provide contrasting views of what it means to be a transformational learner whilst Goodson and West support my development towards that of a researcher, whose fascination with the individual stories of the students with which I have worked provided the starting point for the research.

As the thesis ends, the shades of friends return to remind this researcher that it was the experiences of the participants which resonated with, but did not mirror my own. For, whilst the boundaries between individuals is at all times honoured, it is in the shared boundaries that
we meet and our mutual human dependency is framed.

Reference Bainbridge, A. & West, L. 2012. Psychoanalysis and education: Minding a gap. London, Karnac Books.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1705 Education and training of teachers and administrators
Divisions: Faculty of Education
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Hudson
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2015 15:31
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2016 17:58

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00