University of Leicester
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Narratives of childhood : orientation to teaching style

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:43 authored by Ann Heron
This study explores student teachers' perceptions of child-adult relationships, and their orientation to a teaching style. Twenty-nine stories of childhood by education students were analyzed for the child's perception of adults, using a framework developed from attachment theory and Baumrind's parenting styles. Adults in the stories were allocated to the authoritative, authoritarian, or permissive group. Previous to their writing of stories, students' perceptions of adult-child relationships were collected through two projective type exercises. Using the above theories, a table was designed to represent three t`eaching styles: secure-authoritative, avoidant-authoritarian, and ambivalent-permissive. Data from the exercises were analyzed for students' unconscious and conscious orientation to teaching style. Results from both sets of data were compared. Ten stories (Appendix 1) and corresponding projective exercises are discussed in the analysis. Summaries of stories are provided within the analysis chapter for ease of reference. Results showed connections between childhood relationships with adults and teaching style orientation. A child's relationship with adults founded on authoritativeness matched projective results, which suggest an authoritative teaching orientation style now. Similar matches were found for authoritarian parenting and teaching orientation, and permissive parenting and teaching orientation. A small fourth group designated "dis-orientated" by attachment theorists was not found, but a sample story (Appendix 2) from an earlier collection, is briefly discussed. Results imply that the dilemma of whether to provide theory or practice first in education courses, or of how much theory is appropriate, may be solved if students' own childhood experiences are used to develop their understanding of child-adult relationships and their potential influence on teaching orientation. Such stories offer a strong foundation for student teachers to begin their study of education theories, and could help students develop self-understanding and empathy for children. Key words: childhood narratives, projective techniques, teaching style.


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University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • EdD



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