Constructing Creative Non-fiction: Telling Teachers' Stories about Being Observed


In 2010, a PhD scholarship afforded me an interruption from my teaching role in UK Further Education (FE). Because of my interests in enhancing teaching and learning, I chose to investigate the emotional aspects of lesson observations. Previous studies focused on lesson observations within schools or universities, but my research centred specifically within FE. Furthermore, instead of researching macro issues of policies and procedures within lesson observations, my study sought to give voice to the staff involved in these policies, specifically to the emotional aspects of their perceived performativity. In this case study, I provide an account of one practical element of my methodology within my 3-year PhD project. Specifically, this case illuminates the processes involved in using autobiography/biographical interview techniques to elicit teachers' narratives of their emotional lived experiences of lesson observations. It also provides examples of how these processes evolved. It considers the importance of the potential interconnectedness between methodologies and the subject of the research. It pays particular attention to the ways that narrative data might be analysed, interpreted and presented. The rationale and co/construction of creative non-fiction is explained, together with the potential value this approach may offer other researchers in this area.

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