International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Phenomenology of Teacher Work: Images of Control, Chaos and Care
Susanne Westman, Prof. Eva Alerby, Dr. Jillian Brown

Extensive reforms and standardization on a global level have changed the expectations of education in the last decade. The ways in which teachers understand and experience their work are central to the ways in which this work is carried out. Children also have their own understandings of teachers’ work. The aim of this study is to explore how teacher work is experienced and portrayed by teachers and children. The study takes it’s starting point in the phenomenology of the life-world as expressed by Merleau-Ponty and van Manen, and is based on teachers’ and children’s drawings and associated comments concerning teacher work. The result shows a multi-dimensional and ambiguous reality, presented as three themes: To control and be controlled, To manage or enjoy chaos, and, To care, nurture and protect. The paper offers a phenomenological analysis of the result and a discussion in relation to contemporary issues in education.

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