Situational Map of ‘Learning to be a Literacies Teacher’

Situational analysis takes grounded theory and ‘pushes it around the postmodern turn’ (Clarke 2005:1) The commitments to representing those we study in their own terms / through their own perspectives remains, but if through the systematic collection of qualitative data GT has the tendency to smooth over and out differences, SA enables the telling complicated stories about data, representing differences, contradictions and incoherence.  

It is apparent when exploring these methodological traditions that there are strong connections within and between them. Clarkes pushing GT around the post-modern turn entails a ‘method assemblage’ and hence includes discourse analysis, grounded theory coding, actor network theories, relational materialities, symbolic interactionism and the full menu of other qualitative research methodologies.

In explicating her method, Clarke (2005) argues for reframing of the analytical unit – as it root metaphor – include not the social process / action but the social ecology / situation: she is careful to point out that the situation is other than the context of action, but is directly implicated as a constituent part of the unit of analysis.

Her methodology suggest 3 sorts of ‘maps’: situational, social / arena and positioning maps. As she points out ‘map’ may in terms of geography sound largely bounded, fixed with clearly defined boundaries and pathways. Yet this methodology implies reflexivity (the cartographer is part of the landscape), flexibility. Its roots may be grounded, but its source is uncertain and modest with the capacity to represent contradiction.  Clarke (2005) exemplifies mapping with the use of narrative, visual and historical discourse materials, and offers possibilities for more intense interrogation of data.  The map is not the analysis but a tool upon which the analysis is based.
Situational Map: doing

All the analytically pertinent human and non-human elements: individuals, groups, organisations, institutions, subcultures …

First messy situational map

  • Literacy as skills
  • Literacies discourses
  • Functional skills
  • The ‘good / competent’ teacher
  • Literacy / Language learner
  • Literacy / Language learning
  • Policy: language / literacy & economy
  • Quality
  • Further Education College
  • Community Education
  • Prison education
  • Competent functional adult
  • Academic knowledge
  • Research
  • Practice
  • Education, training and economy
  • Core-curriculum documents
  • ‘Good’ English
  • Training room
  • Literacy / Language classroom
  • Assignments
  • Computers: twitter, blogging & learning software packages
  • Written assignments
  • Library – reading materials
  • 2nd marker & EE
  • Quality in HE
  • Skills for Life policy 1999 – 2010
  • Coalition government
  • Skills strategy updates post 2010
  • Key websites: NRDC, Excellence Gateway, eBridge
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Students / trainees / teachers
  • Mentors
  • ILPs
  • Lesson plans, schemes of work
  • Blog
  • Class: working class vs. chav
  • Immigrant, foreigner
  • Multi or bilingualism
  • Qualified
  • North of England
  • University Diploma, Level 5
  • HE funding


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