When I analysed all these narrative data I noticed that our stories seemed to levels of story reflect context at different levels. In other words, our exploration of the contexts in which we had taught, had been taught, and had observed teaching, revealed that our personal stories of these experiences interconnected with other stories, those at varying levels of remove from our own. The important word here is interconnected: the stories mutually construct each other. I represent these levels as follows: Vibram FiveFinger Discount
1.The inner circle consists of a particular teacher's story. This story is personal, and embodies the inner thoughts, emotions, ideas and theories of teachers, as well as the many social interactions in which they take part during their teaching practice. This story is constructed in teachers' immediate contexts, for example, during classroom lessons, during one- on-one conversations with students and colleagues, and in teaching journals or portfolios. 2.A second level of Story (with a capital S) spreads wider than the immediate psychological and inter-personal context of the teacher. Included in this Story are consequences of decisions typically made by others in the work environment, as well as their attitudes, expectations and prescriptions; for example, a school's language-in-education policy, the wants and needs of the community from which the students come, and the methods and materials which teachers are required to use by their supervisors and budget-conscious administrators.
At this level of Story teachers usually have less control; less power to manipulate the complex arrangement of variables that construct their practice, and consequently their stories. Vibram Fivefingers 3.A third level of S T O R Y (in capital letters) refers to the broader sociopolitical context in which teaching and learning takes place. Here teachers have even less power to make decisions about conditions which influence their practice. Examples of STORIES include national language-in-education policy, imposed curriculum from Ministries of Education, and socioeconomic circumstances in a region. The use of capital letters to refer to this level of STORY merely signifies a wider, macro context and the power often associated with it. In no way does it diminish the worth of any individual teacher's story. These levels of story are obviously interrelated, and at times it may be difficult to distinguish them. This is to be expected, since the three levels of story are very much interconnected. For any particular teacher, it would be impossible to make sense of any one level without considering the others. Exploring context in language teaching, therefore, necessarily means exploring all three levels of story.