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Those who can, teach: the formative influence of socio-cultural constructions of teachers in children's literature and learners' notions of teaching

Bingle, Branwen (2017) Those who can, teach: the formative influence of socio-cultural constructions of teachers in children's literature and learners' notions of teaching. PhD thesis, University of Worcester.

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Abstract

This interdisciplinary study uses grounded theory to interrogate the socio-cultural relationship
between readers and the texts written for them to explore the question of articulation between
learners’ notions of teaching and narrative representations of teachers found in children’s
literature from the UK. Utilising the principles of Personal Construct Psychology (Kelly 1955), an
in-depth analysis of literature written for child- and young adult readers forms the basis of the
study, the findings of which informed an exploration of participants’ perceptions of literary and
actual teachers. A total of 163 teacher-characters from 45 examples of fiction for children and
young adult readers were critiqued; as a result, eight prevalent character roles and traits were
identified, developing previous findings by Dockett, Perry and Whitton (2010) from their study
of teachers in English language picturebooks.
Narrative methodologies, including character profile depictions and an approach based on the
Storycrafting method (Karlsson and Riihelä 1991), were used in order to explore links between
the depictions of characters in published works and the fictions created by 22 pupils aged 9-10
in an English primary school; this was repeated with ten university students training to teach on
an undergraduate Initial Teacher Education (ITE) degree. Finally, repertory grid interviews were
conducted with all 32 participants to establish individuals’ construct systems regarding the
characteristics of literary and actual teachers. Initially the study had intended to identify a
taxonomy of archetypal characters, however the emerging constructs indicated a diversity of
representation that would have rendered a taxonomy meaningless. Instead, the character roles
and traits presented themselves as more meaningful sociocultural constructs. Their appearance
in both the published and participants’ corpora indicated a direct link between the depictions of
teachers in children’s literature and participants constructs regarding the role.
Detailing the eight roles and traits of the teacher within Anglo-centric children’s literature,
including four not previously identified, comprises an original contribution to knowledge, as
does the utilisation of Personal Construct methodologies in the analysis of children’s literature.
Broadening the study to include literature and participants from different socio-cultural groups,
and the application of the methodology to examples of literature written by children are areas
suggested for further research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the university's requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 2017.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: children's literature, grounded theory, personal construct psychology, repertory grid interviews, teachers, teaching
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
P Language and Literature > PZ Childrens literature
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Janet Davidson
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2020 08:09
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2020 08:20
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/9600

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