Exploring the formation of pedagogical beliefs in female early years teachers

  • Lucy Frances Parker

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This qualitative study explored the formation of pedagogical beliefs in female early years teachers in England. A feminist social constructionist framework was adopted in order to gain a greater understanding how early years teaching has been framed by the concept of gender. Bourdieu’s theoretical tools of habitus and institutional habitus were utilised in order to give greater consideration to how the social world and early childhood may have influenced the formation of the study participants’ pedagogical beliefs. A two-phase life history interview method was utilised in order to provide the twelve study participants with the opportunity to discuss their personal and professional lives. Both phases involved an interview, with the second phase utilising objects and photographs, chosen by the participants to represent their pedagogical beliefs and used as a stimulus for further reflective discussion. Data were analysed through a thematic analysis approach.
The findings from the study suggest that there are a range of factors that influence the formation of female early years teachers pedagogical beliefs. The role of the past played a significant part, with childhood and school memoires and maternal influences being particularly significant. The values and dispositions that were established in the participants’ childhoods were often taken into their pedagogy. The impact of a maternal identity was also a key factor, from a personal perspective the participants own maternal identity and influence from their mothers was significant. From a wider societal perspective, the construction of the female early years teacher in a maternal, caring role had also been influential. Wider influences included policy and the historical legacy of early years education, which had created key early years pedagogical principles that the participants identified with. There was also evidence of how the participants’ pedagogy had developed and changed over time highlighting the importance of engaging in thinking and discussion but also the responsibility of the individual teacher in actively challenging their beliefs.
Date of Award13 Jun 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SponsorsFroebel Trust
SupervisorMathias Urban (Supervisor), Suzanne Quinn (Supervisor) & Kathryn Hoskins (Supervisor)

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