Reid, James (2016) Disembodied Lives: How teachers come to care and what this might mean for research in schools. In: International symposium: Engaging Children and Young People: Creative Methods and Research Ethics, 20th - 21st June 2016, University of Huddersfield. (Unpublished)

Childhood Studies has significantly shifted the narrative about children and childhoods away from narrow conceptualisations of the child as an adult in the making, further rejecting the parochial and essentialist theorizing of social constructivism, to include a fluid and broader concern for the centrality of voice and how children develop, understand and regulate their own lives. In this context the politics of representation are an important concern and childhood researchers are keenly aware of the need to critically evaluate both how children’s lives are organized and mediated, and how they critically analyse how they come to represent children’s lived experience in their research work.
This presentation reports on the findings of an institutional ethnography of a primary school in the north of England during a period of regulatory scrutiny when the school was judged by Ofsted inspectors as ‘performing less well than it might in all the circumstances reasonably be expected to perform’. Consideration is given to use of a narrative method, the Listening Guide including ‘I’ poems, and how these were utilised in revealing and analysing the co-ordination of social relations. Findings reveal complex, relational, ethical and political context in which the teachers’ work is organized by powerful texts and intertextual processes. Specifically teachers are scrutinized by inspectors as needing to care about targets and desired outcomes and silenced as care receivers. The dilemmas this creates for research with children and young people in educational settings is discussed.

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