Teachers as Readers: Readers as Teachers. An Investigation into the Reading Experiences of Early Career English Teachers.

Feist, Alison (2022) Teachers as Readers: Readers as Teachers. An Investigation into the Reading Experiences of Early Career English Teachers. Doctoral thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.

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This study seeks to explore the reading experiences of early career English teachers, and their attitudes towards teaching reading in school. A key assumption is that whilst the majority of secondary English teachers claim a love of reading, there are some inherent challenges for those who are entering the profession. As a teacher educator, this led me to think further about the potential implications for initial teacher training. In keeping with the subject, this work adopts a narrative approach to teachers’ reading, addressing this from educational, theoretical and policy perspectives, captured through qualitative interviews and a personal autoethnographic account. It explores the stories of three early career teachers in depth, weaving my personal viewpoints as reader, educator and teacher trainer into the overall account. The teachers’ stories are valued as individual viewpoints prior to being examined more closely, to ascertain the differences and commonalities that inform my findings. On analysis it was found that the teachers were heavily influenced by their own experiences as readers. Their love of reading was deeply rooted in childhood memories of books, and the emotions these evoked. Reading was associated with relaxation and enjoyment and provided a means of escape into other worlds where they could meet new characters. Compelling themes and powerful characterisation invoked strong personal reader responses and empathy. Despite stories being artificial constructs, they enabled the reader to empathise and work through characters’ experiences. The thesis offers examples of ways in which reading in childhood had clearly influenced their reading as adults, and the desire to teach English as a career. The teachers’ stories produce rich insights into the experiences of beginning English teachers and highlight tension between teachers’ desire to engender a love of reading in their pupils and also meet specific targets when the curriculum is defined by assessment requirements. It raises questions as to how (and if) such disparate aims can be empowered to work harmoniously and discusses too, some of the implications for continuing professional development of teachers, and particularly those at the start of their career. It also draws that data together to make some recommendations for future practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Accessibility note: If you require a more accessible version of this thesis, please contact us at arro@aru.ac.uk
Keywords: reading fiction, reading for pleasure, narrative inquiry, English teachers
Faculty: Theses from Anglia Ruskin University
Depositing User: Dr Catherine Pearson
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2022 10:35
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2022 10:35
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/707815

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