A study of the identity of early education teachers: a Montessori context

O'Donnell, Natasha (2020). A study of the identity of early education teachers: a Montessori context. University of Birmingham. Ed.D.

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The landscape of early education in Ireland has evolved over the last 20 years, with many significant changes coming through a recent influx of policies. The importance of school readiness has been widely recognised, as has the role of early education in improving equality. Ireland has followed international policy and research trends, pursuing high quality early educational experiences. However, in recognising the importance of the early education sector Ireland has not yet addressed issues surrounding early education teachers. Indeed, even the title ‘early education teacher’ is fraught with controversy, as the term teacher is often lost amongst a plethora of other labels, such as childminder and childcare worker. This research addressed the identity of early years teachers within a Montessori context. It examined identity formation and the implications of societal views, taking the stance that identity is socially and culturally constructed (Swennen, Volman and van Essen, 2008).
The methodology used was an interpretivist paradigm, gathering and generating qualitative data. Data were gathered from media sources, specifically newspaper articles and twitter. Further data were generated through semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire. All data were placed within the theoretical framework of interpellation (Althusser, 1971), viewed from a Foucauldian perspective and analysed using Foucauldian Discourse Analysis. Themes were identified and discussed in terms of interpellation and subjectivity. There was also evidence of interruptions to interpellation, with early education teachers using social media as an outlet to express their discontentment.
Findings from this research offer valuable insight into the identity of early years teachers within a Montessori context, along with a number of suggestions regarding how this issue may be addressed. This research may be of value to policymakers and stakeholders wishing to address the current plight of early education teachers, particularly Montessori teachers.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ed.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ed.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/10553


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