‘It was the best of times, it was the …’ Reflections from one veteran male teacher on their physical education career in Scotland. Paper presented at British Educational Research Association (BERA) Annual Conference, September 6th-8th, Institute of Education, London.

Malcolm Thorburn

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Relatively little is known about veteran teachers’ professional lives and especially of veteran teachers who have remained in relatively marginalised teaching positions for the entirety of their careers. For example, in Hextall et al., (2007) annotated bibliography of over one hundred texts on teachers’ lives and professional practice since 2000, the predominant focus is on professionalism and professional development (especially on studies involving teachers in the early stages of their careers). This a weakness in our understanding of teachers’ lives, especially given the changing purposes and fortunes of physical education which have taken place from the mid 1970s onwards and the uncertain futures which might be ahead (Kirk, 2010). Through a series of six semi-structured interviews (scheduled for February-March, 2011) this presentation aims to understand more about the influence of subject purposes and fortunes on one teachers’ life and the consequences there were for their identity and professional practice, as it is recognised that for many teachers ‘it is the subject which becomes the lynchpin of identity’ (Bernstein, 1971, p. 56). The teacher interviewee concerned has taught on a non promoted basis in the same secondary school in an area of social deprivation in the west of Scotland for nearly four decades. In order to move beyond a restricted chronological account of subject aims and practices, career description and analysis will utilise Dickens famous opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities in order to portray recollections which are based on the structural contrasts of the best of times viz. the worst of times, an age of wisdom viz. an age of foolishness. In addition, reference to particular points of Kirk’s (2010) conceptual critique will be referenced when analysing interview data in order to connect theorizing about the recent history and future prospects on physical education with the professional experiences of one veteran teacher. Accordingly, discussion is likely among other matters to focus on reflections on subject aims and renewal over recent decades and of how physical education has articulated its education contribution within wider whole school and wider society debates.

References

Bernstein, B. 1971. On the classification and framing of educational knowledge. In. Class, codes and control, ed. Basil Bernstein, 227-256. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Hextall, I., Gewirtz, S., Cribb, A. and Mahony, P. 2007. Changing Teacher Roles, Identities and Professionalism: An Annotated Bibliography. Available online at:
http://www.kcl.ac.uk/content/1/c6/01/41/56/bibliography.pdf

Kirk, D. (2010) Physical Education Futures. London: Routledge.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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