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Why chemistry teaching? A narrative approach

Dawes, A; (2017) Why chemistry teaching? A narrative approach. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The narrative approach used in this study is a complement to larger scale quantitative studies into teacher recruitment and suggests that chemistry teachers’ relationship with the subject and prior teaching experience can have a large part to play in them entering the profession, whilst the influence of their own teachers is more nuanced than the wider literature suggests. There have been recent international concerns over teacher recruitment and attrition rates, especially in mathematics and the physical sciences. Much has been written about the recruitment of student teachers and the reasons people give for going into teaching, but little on the broader context of these people’s lives and the complex influences on their career decisions. This study concerns eight current UK chemistry teachers and their stories of becoming teachers. These are told through interviews and examine twin research areas: namely, the key influences on becoming a teacher, and what can be learned about teacher recruitment from considering the narratives of teachers at different points in their careers. Two analytic lenses were used for these eight narratives: a broadly inductive thematic analysis and a broadly deductive analysis, using the psychoanalytical idea of the defended participant and attempting to ‘read between the lines’. These lenses were used to both exemplify and challenge each other, providing triangulation of interpretation. Results align with that of the broader literature that family background and interest in, and utility of, studying chemistry influence career life decisions, but that some people experience moments where their career trajectory changes towards teaching whereas others followed a smooth path towards this end. Particularly influential appears to be prior teaching experience which led to changes of trajectory for some of the participants in this study. The narrative approach used complements current perspectives on teaching recruitment as it seeks to consider the wider picture of a person’s life and, through a defended participant perspective, exposes influences that may not have been obvious to the participants themselves.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Why chemistry teaching? A narrative approach
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Chemistry teacher, Narrative
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1561583
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