Source: Teachers and Teaching, Volume 15, Issue 4 August 2009 , pages 515 - 538.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This article is the result of an explorative study, based on the in-depth meta-analysis of a corpus of contemporary pieces of research in which there was found clear references to veteran theatre teachers talking about their work. Following that, extracts from interviews of experienced theatre teachers were analyzed.
The major aim of this study is to expose attitudes, ideas, beliefs, feelings, and insights that veteran theatre teachers may have experienced in referring to their work, to their life career, and to their own selves.
The author wonders: how these veteran theatre teachers came to stay in the educational school systems for a long time?
Why did they struggle for years and years with the system to gain a legitimate place in the school curriculum?
Why do veteran teachers choose to continue playing the game by participating in the school's demands and events despite their repeated disappointments at not receiving a vital role in the curriculum?
The study was designed in the aesthetic inquiry mode of researching which means that it is one mode of qualitative research.
The author gathered the research materials for this study from four different sources:
1. The author conducted interviews with seven veteran teachers from various countries.
All the interviews were carried out in March 2008 at the Hellenic Conference for Drama Teachers and Researchers in Athens. Three were from Greece, one from Sweden, one from USA, and two from England.
2. The author conducted 12 interviews with her pre-service theatre teachers and veteran teachers in Israel.
3. The author collected data from an interactive web cast symposium broadcast on
May 6 and 7, 2008, by the UNESCO Chair in Arts and Learning. The symposium was a combination of web cast, on-line discussion boards, and e-mail; all these transformed the symposium into an international interactive conference. Most of the participants were well-known experienced theatre teachers.
4. The author used her own musings drawn from her former experiences as a high school theatre teacher as well as her current role in preparing and supporting both pre- and
in-service drama teachers at the University of Haifa.
Analyzing their musings is a way to discover that there are identifiable parameters involved in the formulation of an experienced teacher's identity. The quest for self-professional identity is an ongoing search that may fuel teaching and enhance understanding about the level of commitments to one's work.
Studying the identity of veteran theatre teachers is assigned, in this respect, to the role they play in the 'game' of teaching. It may enable induction about identity construction processes in general.