Narrative goes to school, Boys themselves as educational research

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Higgins, Chris
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Narrative has entered the lexicon of educational research both as an end product and as a methodology. At the same time, stories of teachers, students, and schools have altered the horizon of popular literature and culture. "Teacher" has become one of the stock cultural archetypes that artists and politicians depend on for common platforms of remembrance and public discourse. As educational research embraces the social ambiguities and opportunities of narrative, discussions about how to audit and inflect such subjectivity have arisen. In particular, there are quandaries about acknowledging the dynamic boundaries of texts, as well as agreeing on norms of research competency. The purpose of this inquiry is to investigate narrative educational research as a process built upon researcher beliefs, needs, and motivations. Through an examination of 'Boys Themselves: A Return to Single-Sex Education ' (1996), this study focuses attention on the linguistic and rhetorical frameworks implicit in participant observation and the resulting research documents. 'Boys Themselves' tells the story of an esteemed independent boys' high school, and its headmaster's quest to alleviate a multitude of educational and societal ills. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)