Social networks, identity and contexts : a narrative ethnography of a group of College English (CE) teachers’ social learning process amid the research discourse.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This research is a narrative ethnography about a group of College English (CE) teachers working at a university in China. As one of them, I, together with my CE colleagues, lived and told our stories of dealing with the increasing research demand from the workplace. I sought to explore how our workplace mediated the social process of our learning during educational change.
The research is conceptualized within the theoretical framework of community of practice and draws on social network perspective. It also adopts a poststructuralist perspective to present the dynamic socio-cultural process of how these teachers experienced and made meaning of various discourses about their teaching, researching and personal lives.
The discourses from the workplace, the social context and teachers themselves make these CE teachers’ social networks and identities a site of ambivalence and struggles. Entrenched in a lower-status department, CE teachers struggled with various meanings of knowledge: the officially-valued research, the teaching-research, linguistics/western literature research, non-linguistics/western literature research, quantitative research and qualitative research. They also grappled with competing duties from both the workplace and the family.
The research delves into CE teachers’ lived experiences, offering implications for enhancing CE teachers’ learning as well as international understanding of academics who might experience similar educational change. Finally, the study contributes to advancement of social learning theories, in particular, the theory of community of practice and social network theories.