What sustains a life in education?
Barnes, J. 2012. What sustains a life in education? PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Education
Being a teacher is key to my identity. That I remain committed to a system characterised by low morale, poor conditions, compromised values and disparaged beliefs, surprises me. This thesis asks why and how I sustain a life in public education and what relevance my story may have for others. It poses the following questions:
An original feature of this ethnographic research is that close friends were research participants. Friends form and fix each other’s’ stories and support the actions that sustain us. They are central to our resilience and other aspects of well-being. Values-conversations with these friends confirmed that values can form young, and remain relatively unchanged over long periods. Our conversations deepened relationships and our joint resolve to act in-line with our values. A common commitment to creativity, though based on different definitions, defined our identities, directed our values and sustained friendship itself.
This thesis is also distinctive in its interdisciplinarity. My art works form a deliberately silent narrative argued to be as true, fluid and vulnerable as my words. I also use a musical structure called sonata form systematically to interrogate my conclusions. A blend of methodologies, dominated by auto-ethnography calls upon other interpretative approaches including: art and music criticism, grounded theory and action-based study. This mix of methodologies expressed my cross-curricular thinking and provided the engine that powered the staff development action recorded in the penultimate chapter. The term ‘interdisciplinary praxis-focussed autoethnography’, is introduced to emphasise the intention of action through autobiography which characterises this work. My approach shows that living/working in accordance with core values, developing/nurturing friendships and identifying/extending our distinctive creative strengths have been central to me and my friends’ resilience. This realisation changed my practice in teacher education. It strengthened my belief that teacher well-being is key to improving school experience for children.
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||07 Jan 2013|
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