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Fantasies of teaching: handling the paradoxes inherent in models of practice

Hanley, Una (2007) Fantasies of teaching: handling the paradoxes inherent in models of practice. British education research journal, 33 (2). pp. 253-272. ISSN 1469-3518

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Abstract

This article seeks to contrast two constructions of teachers and teaching in England. The first construction is to be found in government documentation, which privileges a technical-rational approach. The second is to be found in film and advertising for the profession, where the teacher is represented as an altruistic and charismatic subject. In their contrasting ways, both these constructions can be regarded as fantasies for teaching held by the government and wider society, which the teacher has to deal with. The article examines both constructions and the tensions that have been created by their presence in Teacher Training Agency 'texts', by drawing on data from trainee interviews as well as examples from the media which give rise to these disparate fantasies. Employing psychoanalytic theory, the article seeks to examine the ways in which teachers and trainees are faced with the paradox of fulfilling both seemingly contrasting fantasies while in the meantime the Government works to annex personally felt fantasies into its codes. It is suggested that trainees need to be educated into these tensions and that practitioners overall need to maintain their fantasies for teaching as well as accommodating these codes.

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