Bartle, Paul Ernest (2013) Negotiating positions: a discourse-based exploration of the work of Teaching Assistants in English schools. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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This thesis focuses on Teaching Assistants (TAs) as members of the school workforce ‘remodelled’ and ‘modernised’ through the policies such as the ‘National Agreement’ (DfES, 2003c; ATL et al., 2003). Findings suggest that:
- schools are not monolithic institutions; there is variety and inconsistency between local practices and relations, including within individual schools
- TAs and teachers instrumentalise pupils to labour to produce the ‘measurable’ outcomes of schools; the three parties operate in asymmetric power relations
- ‘place’ within schools reinforces asymmetric power relations between TAs and teachers
- the texts that circulate in schools reinforce and undermine the asymmetric power relations
- TAs undertook an increasing number of traditional teacher tasks
- drawing on various aspects of their work and policy, the TAs defined themselves as teachers, other than teachers and more than teachers,
- drawing on the social and material resources circulating in their environments, the TAs ideologised their being and doing.
Adopting a broadly relativist, post-structuralist, and constructivist paradigm, using qualitative methods based on critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 2001; Potter and Wetherell, 1987), this thesis uses the words of the TAs who participated in this project to explore their experiences of working in primary and secondary schools in England. The participants’ words come from their participation in focus groups, interviews and from written work they produced as students on a Foundation Degree programme. Ideas from Actor-Network Theory (Latour, 1997; 2005) were used to explore the location of the participants in relation to their workplaces, colleagues and pupils and to establish the categories for subsequent critical analysis of their discourses, broadly following Fairclough’s (2001) stages of ‘description, interpretation and explanation’. Ideas on meaning making (notably Bruner, 1990, 1991, in Bakhurst and Sypnowich 1995) and ideologisation (notably Eagleton, 1991; Billig et al., 1988; Billig, 1995; Abercrombie et al., 1980) support the critical analysis of their discourses to explore how the participants make sense of their situations.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Teaching Assistants, critical discourse analysis, ideology, Actor-Network Theory, teachers, meaning making, ‘National Agreement’.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Science and Public Policy
Contributors: Jones, Ken (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2017 08:57
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 11:55

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