The concept of ‘good teaching’ has been in the vernacular of teachers since the inception of Ofsted in the Education (Schools) Act (1992). Under the current inspection framework, unless schools and teachers are at least ‘good’ they must undergo Section 8 inspections (Ofsted, 2015), guidance for which comes through publications such as ‘Getting to Good: how headteachers achieve success’ (Ofsted, 2012). Although ‘Getting to Good’ is no longer current, similar publications will likely supersede its detail on how to improve schools holistically. The ‘whole school’ focus of such publications, while important, does not necessarily address teachers’ questions about their own practice and their position within current conceptualisations of ‘good teaching’. Teacher participants in my recent study (Ross, 2017) sought to understand and embody good teaching for young people with dyslexia, and construct positive identities for themselves as teachers.
Breaking down teachers' interactions
There are many theories about identity and individuals’ understanding of their place in the world. Bourdieu (1977) views identity as a social process – we understand our place in the world through how we interact with others. He views social interactions as being informed by the roles and associated power people have within social settings. Jenkins (2008) also views identity as a collective process, where social agents’ understanding of self is influenced by the social interactions they engage in. Neither Bourdieu nor Jenkins purports to be able to uncover peoples’ ‘true’, hidden self – Jenkins even argues that we cannot know whether there is a ‘true’ self or not (Jenkins, 2008). However, they both provide us with the means to explore how a ‘self’ can be influenced and may influence others socially.