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Becoming and being a student teacher: a psychoanalytical exploration of teacher fantasies

Booth, Charlotte Elizabeth (2018) Becoming and being a student teacher: a psychoanalytical exploration of teacher fantasies. Doctoral thesis (EdD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Mass participation in education has made teaching one of the most familiar professions in our culture, where many adults pass through the process of teacher education. Those learning to teach implicitly draw on their subjective autobiographical experiences of school education in constructing their fantasies of what it means to become and be a teaching practitioner. Drawing upon contemporary psychoanalytical theory, this research carries out an exploration of how student teacher meanings and realities may have been constructed as pupils and continue to develop as student teachers. Through a first year unit of a teacher education programme, some student teachers are observed developing their analytical capacity in building authorship of their journey, through the production of a series of narrative accounts. These accounts act as temporal anchors, in which the researcher examines how the student teachers write themselves into their text, successively revising their teacher fantasies. Writing is seen as both a method of recording representations and an approach to develop professional practice. The research displays a Lacanian influence throughout, focusing upon how constructions offered by the student teachers will always be inevitably inadequate. The researcher progressively builds an awareness of the psychoanalytical relationship between herself and the ‘object’ of her research. The study affirms that a psychoanalytical approach can contribute to effective academic professional formation. The parallels drawn between the two fields of psychoanalysis and education as potential sites of conflict, provides a richer understanding of the role of anxiety in teacher education, in stimulating productive and generative learning outcomes, crucial to student teacher development. The study concludes by acknowledging both the teacher educator and student teacher as incomplete subjects and emotionality as an integral part of teacher education.

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