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n Education as Change - Ethnographic narratives challenging problem saturated stories of teacher inefficiency

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Abstract

Teachers in South Africa are confronted on a daily basis with messages of inefficiency, ineffectiveness and misconduct with little or no credit to those who are on the opposite side of the spectrum of professionalism. The issue that is explored in this article is not the typical one of why teachers are not performing, but rather what enables teachers to teach with apparent joy, passion and enthusiasm in spite of public scrutiny and bad publicity. We present two ethnographic narratives in which two teachers, a white female and a black male, share their common drives. We explore their perseverance within the theoretical context of critical community psychology and positive psychology. We show how the experiences give rise to what Michael Csikszentmihalyi has referred to as flow and how this relates to autotelic activities. The findings reveal how the teachers' perception of self as 'doer', their sense of school as family, their home family as support of their professional lives and their religion / spiritual belief system contributed to their ability to persevere. This suggests that teachers who can attach meaning to their profession and can identify what drives and sustains them in the face of adversity are more capable of accessing their inner resources in order to nurture their personal and professional self as motivated, positive and driven teachers. This article is written with consideration to educational psychology and the role it has to play in the educational landscape.

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/content/edchange/12/2/EJC31630
2008-12-01
2016-12-08
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