Reframing Black or Ethnic Minority Teachers as Role Models

Alexander, Patricia. 2018. Reframing Black or Ethnic Minority Teachers as Role Models. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis examines how Black or Ethnic Minority (B.E.M.) teachers
understand themselves to be, and position themselves as, role models to
pupils with whom they share cultural or ethnic backgrounds. Most research
concerns the appropriateness of male/female role models and few studies
investigate teachers’ perspectives. A feminist poststructural lens is applied to
problematise the ‘role model’ concept and considers how role model
relations are formed and sustained. B.E.M. teachers’ identity positioning’s are
contextualised within macro (socio-political/historical) and micro
(pedagogical) power relations. The empirical data derive from in-depth semistructured
interviews with seven established B.E.M. (male and female)
teachers who self-identify as role models. These data are analysed as
constitutive work revealing a range of discursive regimes. I develop the idea
of shared discursive history to understand B.E.M. teachers’ identifications as
role models and how these become part of their pedagogy. Shared discursive
history has three inter-related dimensions: teachers’ understanding of their
shared marginalised position; their performance of the ‘role model’ construct;
and their deployment of cultural resources. This framework makes visible
how B.E.M. teachers’ enactment of their role is entangled in culture and is
gendered. The findings suggest that hegemonic role model discourses based
on mimicry are contested and reconfigured in practice by B.E.M. teachers.
Their knowledge of B.E.M. pupils is predicated on the view that, for B.E.M.
pupils to self-identify as achievers, they need to be schooled in resistance
strategies. The teachers’ pedagogical work as role models promotes pupils’
criticality regarding themselves as learners and hegemonic representations of
B.E.M. people.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


role model, teacher, Black teachers, ethnic minority teachers

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


30 June 2018

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

13 Aug 2018 11:06

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:13


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