Role model, Authoritarian and Humourist: Male Primary School Teachers’ identity construction. A symbolic interactionist and discourse analysis approach.

Louie Werth

University of Cambridge


This research builds upon the suggestion that male primary school teachers face challenges in constructing a professional identity due to the competing expectations of others in and outside of the work place (Brownhill, 2014). It intends to draw together narratives of the male primary school teacher as a male role model (Brownhill & Oates, 2017) authoritarian (Martino, 2008) and humourist (Skelton, 2007) and investigate the extent to which these potentially competing narratives influence the identity constructs of male primary school teachers. Bringing together these three specific areas of male teacher identity would represent a unique approach to the study of male primary school teacher identity, with humour in particular being rarely investigated by previous research. 
The research would take a symbolic interactionist approach to identity (Smitt & Fritz, 2008) and, unlike previous research on these issues, would look to investigate how male primary school teacher identities are constructed, modified and developed within the classroom through interactions with staff and students. Using Gee's (2014) approach to discourse analysis, it is believed the classroom will provide a unique and powerful environment in which to observe and investigate how male primary school teachers construct and perform (Foley, 2012) their professional identity. The research will also demonstrate the role that staff and pupils play in shaping and interpreting those identities (Paechter, 2003).



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