Teachers with Learning Disabilities: Identifying the Professional Self by Analysing the Autobiographic Story and the Reflective Feedback on Practice

  • Hanna Bar-Tikva

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


This research examined the stories of three teachers with learning disabilities at the inception of their teaching careers. The research explored the composition of the teacher's professional knowledge, described in the literature as consisting of academic knowledge and personal knowledge. Would the teacher with learning disabilities express her painful childhood school memories in her presentday professional deliberations, as is indicated in the literature relating to case descriptions and research studies? The research question was: what does the 'personal self' of the teacher with learning disabilities at the inception of her career contribute to her 'professional self'? Assisted by the narrative approach that sees a person as creating stories that structure and express his identity, the teachers' stories were collected, recorded and later analysed by interpretative analysis which related to the story's structure and contents. Research data were collected from three sources: the autobiographical story of the teacher presenting personal memories and interpretation for past life events, which illustrate the teacher's interpersonal self and the intrapersonal self. The teacher's reflective feedback regarding her lessons, presented the teacher's interpretations of her professional considerations and a description of an educational event from her work revealed her educativevalue world. All these demonstrated her professional knowledge. The research findings show that coherence exists between the personal story and the professional story and the organising positioning in each of the teacher's stories was identified. It was found that the professional considerations of the teacher, including didactic knowledge, pedagogic knowledge, use of reasoned rules and reading the class map, acted on a background of knowledge that was gathered from the 'personal self' and this enriched the teacher's 'professional self' at the inception of her career.
Date of Award1 Jul 2008
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorYolande Muschamp (Supervisor)


  • figurative positioning
  • autobiographic story
  • narrative analysis
  • teachers with learning difficulties

Cite this