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HOPE  UNIVERSITY  

Living  Legacies:    

Valuing  Lives  of  Service  
How can educational influence continue beyond classroom practice and sustain

a sense of value, purpose and meaning for mature practitioners within a culture

which privileges the external world over the internal?  

 


 


 


 

Catherine
 Anne
 Marie
 HARVEY
 [Forester]
 


 

May
 2015
 


 







Thesis submitted in accordance with the requirements of


Liverpool Hope University


for the degree of Doctor of Education.

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I declare that, except where explicit reference is made to the contribution and/or
influence of others, that this thesis is the result of my own work and has not
been submitted for any other degree at this University or any other institution.




This thesis is available for library use on the understanding that it is copyright

material and that no material from this thesis may be published without proper
acknowledgement. I believe the content of this thesis to be legally allowable
under copyright legislation.





Countersigned:


Doctor Joan Walton Professor Bart McGettrick

Primary Supervisor Secondary Supervisor

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you are below the average level, it tends to pull you up.
If you try to go above it, it tends to pull you down.’


(Wilber, 1996: 139)



I believe that the combined ingredients of these three perspectives led the way to

auto-ethnographic research via third-person, narrative inquiry. I see the narrative

inquiry of this chapter, firstly, as a bridge between a more established, accepted

research form and an evolving one; and secondly, as situating the personal within the

narratives of contemporaries so that the inquiry may be validated and the spirit of

empathetic communion and responsiveness broadened and deepened.



The Social Constructivist Approach


Whilst the experiential perspective honours the significance I place upon

internal/personal knowledge, I draw upon a different approach to provide the

relational lens through which I equally view the world. Social constructivism

provides this with the premise that the self is ‘continually shaped and reshaped

through interactions with others and involvement in social and cultural activities’

(Wetherell & Maybin, 1996: 220).



Also, to authentically reflect my axiological perspective and assumptions, the

method of ‘situating’ myself within the dialogues was felt to be crucial i.e. ‘I’ with

‘other. I aspired to this by including the words of storytellers in italics along with my

personal reflections. This endeavours to reflect the social constructivist argument

‘for a merged view of ‘the person’ and ‘their social context’ where the boundaries of

one cannot easily be separated from the boundaries of the other’ (Wetherall &

Maybin, 1996: 222).



Also, as the social constructivists see indistinct borders between the person and the

social context, for me, we were ‘scaffolded’ (Bruner, 1975) in our childhoods by

common, social structures and processes, and nurtured on shared, generational

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constructs and discourses. From this ‘thrown-ness’ (Heidegger, 1927) we have

grown to exist in the borderlands of each other’s experiences, conscious awareness

and reflexivity. Here, in these shifting boundaries, we find what we in our separate

body-selves have come to think of as our own thoughts and constructions, mirrored

back, and learn more about what it is to be ‘human being human’ (Brandon, 1977):



‘There are many reasons to believe that story-telling
and metaphor is the ordinary language of ordinary

people, a universal mode of communication understood
in some way . . . by both teller and listener. Because they

are a natural form of expression, it makes sense to use
them in any investigation of human experience; as a

means of inquiry, as a way of processing data and as a
way of presenting findings.’


(Wilkins, 2000:144)


Therefore, in combining the words of storytellers with my own it was my intention

to give joint voice to the narration of a contemporary social discourse i.e. a joint

‘social engagement which acts back on those communicating and’ further ‘constructs

their nature’ (Wetherell & Maybin, 1996: 241).






The Stories of Others


Aoife

Introduction


Aoife’s story focused on a juxtaposed correlation between personal values and

institutional structures and goals. It included the unassailable capacity for human

agency, initiative and adaptation. It ‘is complex and multifaceted, involving elements

of both structure and agency, the internal and the external, in a dynamic, dialectical

relationship’ in which Aoife shapes the institution she works in, but is equally

shaped by it (Watson, 1996: 242; Layder, 1990; Giddens, 1984; Berger and

Luckmann, 1971). Interestingly, in contrast to the assumption that power/status

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in mind that participation can be withdrawn at any stage, the interview can be terminated at
any stage and/or breaks can be taken at any stage. A ‘debriefing session’ will be offered
although it is my aim to ensure that interviews end on a positive note.



Every attempt to safe-guard anonymity will be taken and discussed with you at any stage of
the project. Anonymity is, also, assisted by participants coming from different countries, the
use of pseudonyms, the removal of place references and the removal or substitution of
dialect words/terms/ phrases wherever noted.



What happens if I decide I don’t want to take part during the actual
research study, or decide I don’t want the information I’ve given to be
used?

The right to withdraw would be honoured, as would the right to withdraw information at any
stage in the project without any need for you to give any reasons. Also, having withdrawn
any information requested, the edited draft would be resubmitted for your scrutiny and
satisfaction.



How will you ensure that my contribution is anonymous?

Every attempt to safe-guard anonymity will be taken and discussed with you at any stage of
the project. Anonymity is, also, assisted by participants coming from different countries and
the use of pseudonyms. All references to specific places, institutions, etc., will be removed.
Also, without changing/losing any valuable comments dialect terms/ phrases/ words will be
removed or substituted. All participants will be given pseudonyms unless they request
otherwise.



Also, please, be reassured that all hard copies of transcripts will be kept in a locked filing
cabinet and all computer files will be protected by a password. These will all be destroyed
after twelve months of the completion and submission of the research.

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Appendix
 4:
 Participant
 Prompt
 Questions
 

First
 I
 would
 like
 to
 take
 this
 opportunity
 to
 thank-­‐you,
 once
 again,
 for
 agreeing
 to
 be
 part
 of
 this
 
project.
 I
 am
 so
 looking
 forward
 to
 meeting
 with
 you,
 hearing
 your
 story
 and,
 as
 you
 reflect,
 sharing
 
in
 the
 construction
 of
 your
 educational
 legacy.
 

Below
 is
 the
 proposed
 format
 for
 the
 open
 interview.
 Although
 the
 structure
 was
 designed
 to
 create
 
a
 chronological
 story-­‐line,
 as
 it
 is
 an
 open
 interview
 it
 will
 only
 be
 loosely
 adhered
 to.
 Also,
 while
 
your
 authentic
 story/legacy
 is
 the
 significant
 point
 of
 the
 interview,
 I
 suspect
 that
 what
 may
 well
 be
 
produced
 in
 the
 dynamics
 of
 our
 interaction,
 is
 a
 co-­‐creation
 of
 the
 reflexivity
 of
 two
 not
 one
 
participant
 i.e.
 the
 interviewee
 and
 the
 interviewer.
 For
 these
 reasons
 I
 see
 the
 session
 as
 a
 living,
 
dynamic
 exchange
 ‘open’
 to
 our
 unique,
 joint
 construction.
 
 
 

Finally,
 I
 want
 you
 to
 know
 that
 I
 am
 ‘mindful’
 that
 any
 reflection,
 particularly
 where
 there
 has
 been
 
an
 investment
 of
 passion,
 time
 and
 energy,
 may
 evoke
 negative
 emotions.
 However,
 I
 hope
 that
 this
 
experience
 will,
 ultimately,
 be
 one
 you
 will
 feel
 celebrates
 your
 years
 in
 education.
 I
 hope
 you
 will
 
enjoy
 our
 time
 together
 constructing
 your
 story/legacy
 but
 it
 is
 important
 to
 bear
 in
 mind
 that
 
participation
 can
 be
 withdrawn
 at
 any
 stage,
 the
 interview
 can
 be
 terminated
 at
 any
 stage,
 breaks
 
can
 be
 taken
 at
 any
 stage
 and
 a
 ‘debriefing
 session’
 will
 be
 offered
 although
 it
 is
 my
 aim
 to
 ensure
 
that
 the
 interview
 ends
 on
 a
 positive
 note.
 

1. How
 long
 have
 you
 been
 involved
 in
 education?
 

 

2. Tell
 me
 how
 this
 came
 about.
 

 

3. Describe
 your
 early
 years
 in
 educational
 provision.
 

 

4. Tell
 me
 about
 the
 values
 and
 aspirations
 of
 those
 early
 years.
 

 

5. Describe
 your
 middle
 years
 in
 education.
 

 

6. Tell
 me
 about
 any
 events
 and/or
 choices
 in
 those
 years
 that
 you
 feel
 significantly
 impacted
 
upon
 you
 e.g.
 your
 practice,
 values,
 aspirations,
 etc.
 

 

7. Describe
 your
 more
 recent
 years
 in
 education.
 

 

8. Tell
 me
 about
 the
 issues
 of
 these
 later
 years.
 

 

9. Tell
 me
 about
 your
 future
 plans
 and
 dreams
 in
 relation
 to
 your
 practice.
 

 

10. Where
 do
 you
 see
 yourself
 in
 five
 years’
 time?
 

 

11. What
 would
 you
 like
 your
 educational
 legacy
 to
 be?
 

 

 

Many,
 many
 thanks!
 

 

THESIS-PX9b7

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