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oral history project essay / gender theme


superkaytee 10 / 30  
Dec 16, 2006   #1
Hi I have to write a 2000 word essay. I interviewed a retired primary school teacher and now I have to write an essay on how I approached the person and contacted them regarding the interview and place the experiences in context with research on teacher training and the gender difference in society in the 1950's in Ireland.

I have only just started but I'm not sure about the introduction.Could somone have a look at it and maybe give me a few ideas. Thanks


Introduction?

Through the course of this project I was required to interview a retired principal about her educational experiences, career as a teacher and teaching life. I then placed the experiences of this individual within the context of social, economic and cultural changes during this period. I could have chosen a few different themes to work with from this interview but I chose the themes teacher training and gender difference. As the individual didn't willingly like to be recorded, I wrote the conversation on paper which can be seen in the appendix.

The person interviewed will be regarded as Mrs. X in this report and the educational experiences described in the interview will not be named for confidentiality reasons.

I contacted Mrs. X by posting her a letter and consent form with a stamped self-addressed envelope for returning, asking would she be willing to contribute to my research project by letting me interview her for one hour, regarding her life in primary school, her teacher training experience and working as a primary school teacher. I informed her that I would like to tape the conversation for my own purposes and that the conversation would be confidential I also enclosed a list of questions that I wanted to discuss so in the interview she would be aware of the questions I wanted to ask even though I did inform her I probably wouldn't ask all of the questions. On receiving the consent form, the individual had enclosed her telephone number so we could arrange a time to suit us both. I telephoned her and we arranged to meet on the 3rd of November 2006 at her home.

OP superkaytee 10 / 30  
Dec 16, 2006   #2
I need to hand in this essay by Monday so if anyone could help as soon as possible it would be greatly appreciated
EF_Team [Moderator] 41 / 220 15  
Dec 16, 2006   #3
We will review your essay within 20 hours or less - as always! :) Thank you for your patience.

EssayForum.com
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Dec 17, 2006   #4
Greetings!

Nice to see you back again!

This sounds like an interesting project. Let's take a look at what you have so far:

"Introduction?"

Yes, indeed, the first paragraph is an introduction. No question about it. :-) From there on, you're into the body of your text.

"I could have chosen a few different themes to work with from this interview but I chose the themes teacher training and gender difference."

I recommend inserting a semi-colon after "interview", dropping "but" an inserting "of" after "themes."

"As the individual didn't willingly like to be recorded, I wrote the conversation on paper which can be seen in the appendix."

How about something like: "Since [or, As] this individual was not willing to be recorded, I transcribed the conversation, which can be seen in the appendix."

"The person interviewed will be regarded as Mrs. X in this report and the educational experiences described in the interview will not be named for confidentiality reasons."

Do you mean the location of the educational experiences will not be revealed?

"I contacted Mrs. X by posting her a letter and consent form with a stamped self-addressed envelope for returning, asking would she be willing to contribute to my research project by letting me interview her for one hour, regarding her life in primary school, her teacher training experience and working as a primary school teacher."

This needs to be condensed a little. How about saying ". . . a stamped, self-addressed return envelope. I requested a one-hour interview regarding her teacher training experience and life as a primary school teacher."

"I informed her that I would like to tape the conversation for my own purposes and that the conversation would be confidential I also enclosed a list of questions that I wanted to discuss so in the interview she would be aware of the questions I wanted to ask even though I did inform her I probably wouldn't ask all of the questions."

I think you're missing some punctuation here. You need a period after "confidential", and the second sentence could use tightening up: "I enclosed a list of questions and informed her I would be choosing some of them for discussion in our interview."

"On receiving the consent form, the individual had enclosed her telephone number so we could arrange a time to suit us both. I telephoned her and we arranged to meet on the 3rd of November 2006 at her home."

"The individual" sounds very clinical, which is fine if that is the tone you want to establish. Personally, I would prefer to use "Mrs. X," but that may not be your choice. :-) Actually, on second look, the paragraph needs some clarification: "Mrs. X [or, The individual] returned the consent form along with her telephone number, and we arranged to meet on the 3rd of November at her home."

OK, you're off to a good start! I'll be looking for more posts as you work!

Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP superkaytee 10 / 30  
Dec 17, 2006   #5
Thanks so much for your response. I have edited the first part like you suggested so this is the next part that I have wrote. In methadology part of the essay I have to provide two quotations which I ahve included and then a short biographical account and then set the life in context-life and policy interweaved. This part is confusing me and even though I have books to use to reference the two themes I dont know what i should be including. Its due tomoro so i really dont have much time so any suggestions and editing would be appreciated.

On the 3rd of December at 1.00 p.m. I called to Mrs. X to conduct the interview and we sat in the lounge and I started by asking her questions about her primary school experience. I asked open ended questions so I would not be soliciting any bias answers and also allowed her to elaborate if she wanted to.

'A second conception of the interview is that of a transaction which inevitable has bias, which is to be recognised and controlled'.(Cohen)
As well as this listening to her response and preparing the next question. If I felt we were losing track of the initial interview discussion, I just fell back on the question sheet I had prepared. After a brief few minutes The individual started to feel at ease and more relaxed as Ken Howarth in The Oral History Handbook calls the 'Warming up period'. Even thought she wasn't being recorded, I think because I wasn't rushing her to answer questions and sticking rigidly to every single question, she was more at ease to answer and recall her experiences.

Biographical account

Mrs. X was born in Cork in the 1940's and a few years later the family moved to Tipperary Town. Her background was very disciplined, her father was a sergeant and her mother was very musical.

She attended the convent primary school which was run by the Sisters of Mercy and she remembers the teachers were very strict. There was corporal punishment in the school but she doesn't ever remember being slapped. There was no formal uniform.

In 6th Class she received a scholarship in the Primary Cert to go to St. Anne's secondary school where she received her Intercert. After the Intercert she went to a boarding school in Doon. There was eighteen children in the class there. She was taught Irish, Mathematics, English, History, Geography, Latin, Domestic Science, physiology and Christian Doctrine. The priest would visit to give an oral exam on the Doctrine. All of the subjects were taught through Irish except for History and Geography. Girls didn't do Honours Mathematics and boys didn't do domestic Science.

Husband did all of his subjects through Irish.

Honours Irish was a requirement for the teacher training course and needed 2,000 marks to get a good job.

Teacher Training 1958-1960

They had a choice of doing a 3yr course In Trinity college in Dublin City but Mrs. X went to Mary Immaculate College in Limerick City and boarded there. Most pupils didnt go to Trinity as it was too expensive.

Had to pay fees of 64 pounds a year and extras.
The I.N.T.O was complaining about the preparatory schools as they felt it was unfair that pupils who went to these schools had a unfair advantage over pupils who completed their Leaving Certificate and who were trying to gain access to the teaching colleges.

All nuns lecturing and they would inspect the cleaning

Sewing was every evening for half an hour and they had a Easter Oral Sewing Exam which included hemming, cross stitching, Running, Back Stitch, Blanket stitch, French seam, Fell seam, hedgetear, Woolen patch, Darn, Knit heel of a sock.

Lot of music =piano, choral work, voice training, Ballroom dancing, Tango
All letters were opened, in and out. They were given at 8.30 in the evening when they were doing sewing.
Silence was emphasised in the corridors and there were penalties if caught talking which was a week without being allowed to talk. Nuns watched at top and bottom of stairs to enforce the rules.

They were allowed a visit one Sunday a month.
Had criticism lessons or demonstrations in the main hall on a Friday afternoon every week or every two weeks. All the lecturers sat on the stage and the students sat in rows against the walls of the hall. The student who was doing the lesson stood in centre and a primary class was brought in for the lesson to be practiced on. When the children left, the lecturers then proceeded to tell you what you had done wrong.

This was a negative approach though it helped in some way and was done in every subject. The directions had to be given in Irish and communicate to class in Irish.

They had a Cert for Christian Doctrine (Like Dip. Religion now)
As Mrs. X was in the Teacher traingin college from 1958 till 1960, the marraige ban that had come into effect in 1932 didnt restarin her as this decision was removed from the code in June 30 1958 by Minister Mr.Lynch and had been operative since July 1, 1958.
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Dec 17, 2006   #6
Hello again!

I'll need to look at your essay in two different posts, so please bear with me!

"On the 3rd of December at 1.00 p.m. I called to Mrs. X to conduct the interview and we sat in the lounge and I started by asking her questions about her primary school experience."

How about changing this to two sentences: "On the 3rd of December at 1.00 p.m., I called on Mrs. X to conduct the interview. We sat in the lounge, and I started by asking her questions about her primary school experience."

"I asked open ended questions so I would not be soliciting any bias answers and also allowed her to elaborate if she wanted to."

Insert a hypen in "open-ended." "Bias" needs to be "biased". I would end this sentence there, then continue: "This method also allowed her . . . "

"'A second conception of the interview is that of a transaction which inevitable has bias, which is to be recognised and controlled'. (Cohen)"

You might want to check your quotation; it probably says "inevitably" rather than "inevitable." Also, the period needs to be moved to after the citation. If you are citing in MLA format, you need to add the page number of your quotation (don't use a comma between the author's name and the page number). If you are using APA or some other format, you can let me know and I'll look up the rule.

"As well as this listening to her response and preparing the next question."

Hmm . . . I'm not sure of your meaning. Are you trying to say that you would listen to her response and then choose the next question based on what the response had been?

"After a brief few minutes The individual started to feel at ease and more relaxed as Ken Howarth in The Oral History Handbook calls the 'Warming up period'."

If you want to say "the individual" rather than "Mrs. X", use a small "t." :-) I would end the sentence at that point, then start a new one: "Ken Howard, in The Oral History Handbook, calls this the 'warming up period.'" Notice that the period needs to go before the quotation mark. (Just as an aside, you may notice that I use the double quotation mark; that's just the difference between British [pardon me, Irish] and American English.) Again, if you are writing in MLA format, you will need to cite the page number of your quotation in parentheses, with the period following.

"Her background was very disciplined, her father was a sergeant and her mother was very musical."

Use a semi-colon rather than a comma.

"There was corporal punishment in the school but she doesn't ever remember being slapped."

Insert a comma after "school."

"In 6th Class she received a scholarship in the Primary Cert to go to St. Anne's secondary school where she received her Intercert."

Insert commas after "6th Class" and "school."

"There was eighteen children in the class there."

Use "were" rather than "was", since "children" is plural.

"She was taught Irish, Mathematics, English, History, Geography, Latin, Domestic Science, physiology and Christian Doctrine."

I think that "Physiology" should be capitalized, since all the rest are.

"The priest would visit to give an oral exam on the Doctrine. All of the subjects were taught through Irish except for History and Geography."

I would say "in Irish" rather than "through Irish"--unless that's the idiomatic way to say it on your side of the pond. :-)

"Husband did all of his subjects through Irish."

Insert "Her" before "husband."

"Honours Irish was a requirement for the teacher training course and needed 2,000 marks to get a good job."

I would say "in order to get a good job."

All right, that takes us about halfway through. I'll be "back in a few," as we say over here. Hang tight!

Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP superkaytee 10 / 30  
Dec 17, 2006   #7
Thanks for that!That part is the biography part u were correcting and they r bits i had transcribed from the interview but do u think this is a good biographical account or do i need more?
OP superkaytee 10 / 30  
Dec 17, 2006   #8
the criteria wants me to write a short biographical account worth 5% of the essay and then setting the life in context -life and policy interweaved.this is the part im confused about!!!
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Dec 17, 2006   #9
Greetings--I'm back!

OK, let's finish:

"They had a choice of doing a 3yr course In Trinity college in Dublin City but Mrs. X went to Mary Immaculate College in Limerick City and boarded there."

I would specify who "they" are; "Education students", perhaps? "In" doesn't need to be capitalized, but "College" does. Also, spell out "three-year" and insert a comma after "Dublin City."

"Most pupils didnt go to Trinity as it was too expensive. Had to pay fees of 64 pounds a year and extras."

I see three problems here: you need an apostrophe in "didn't", you need to insert a comma after "Trinity," and your third sentence is incomplete. How about: " . . . expensive; students had to pay . . . "

"The I.N.T.O was complaining about the preparatory schools as they felt it was unfair that pupils who went to these schools had a unfair advantage over pupils who completed their Leaving Certificate and who were trying to gain access to the teaching colleges.

All nuns lecturing and they would inspect the cleaning"

First, you need a period after the "O" in "I.N.T.O." As to the rest: the first sentence is too long, and the second is incomplete and unclear. Let's see . . . how about: "The I.N.T.O. complained that the graduates of preparatory school had an unfair advantage over pupils . . . " I'm not sure what the nuns have to do with this. Oh, I think I see--you're describing life in the prep schools, is that correct?

If that's the case, then you need to introduce that topic. Maybe, "Life in the preparatory schools was strict and regimented." Or something like that. You can tie that in with Mrs. X's upbringing, since you said her father was strict.

Back to the nuns: "The nuns inspected the pupil's dormitories [or classrooms--whatever Mrs. X told you] for cleanliness, and gave stern lectures if conditions didn't meet their expectations." Is that close to what you meant? Going on:

"Sewing was every evening for half an hour and they had a Easter Oral Sewing Exam which included hemming, cross stitching, Running, Back Stitch, Blanket stitch, French seam, Fell seam, hedgetear, Woolen patch, Darn, Knit heel of a sock."

How about: "Every evening, the pupils received sewing instruction; an oral sewing exam every Easter included . . . " In the list, you only need to capitalize "French." Also, insert "and" before the last item.

"Lot of music =piano, choral work, voice training, Ballroom dancing, Tango"

Sounds like this came straight from your notes. :-)) Try: "There was extensive musical instruction in piano, chorus, and vocal training, as well as lessons in ballroom dancing and the tango."

"All letters were opened, in and out. They were given at 8.30 in the evening when they were doing sewing."

How about: "Pupils received their mail at 8.20 in the evening, during sewing instruction. All correspondence, incoming and outgoing, was inspected by the nuns."

"Silence was emphasised in the corridors and there were penalties if caught talking which was a week without being allowed to talk."

How about: "Silence was required in the corridors; students caught talking would be penalized by a week of enforced silence."

"Nuns watched at top and bottom of stairs to enforce the rules."

Insert "the" in front of "top," "bottom" and "stairs."

"They were allowed a visit one Sunday a month."

You need to specify that the students were allowed the visits. Otherwise, it sounds like the nuns were.

"Had criticism lessons or demonstrations in the main hall on a Friday afternoon every week or every two weeks."

You can insert "They" at the beginning of the sentence, since you just (I assume) changed the above sentence and mentioned the students. :-)

"The student who was doing the lesson stood in centre and a primary class was brought in for the lesson to be practiced on."

Insert "the" before "centre" and a comma after "lesson."

"When the children left, the lecturers then proceeded to tell you what you had done wrong."

It's not a good idea to switch point of view here to "you." Keep it in the third person and say, " . . . proceeded to tell the critic what she had done wrong." (I'm assuming this was an all-girl school.)

"This was a negative approach though it helped in some way and was done in every subject."

I would say, "Although this was a negative approach, it helped in some ways and . . . "

"The directions had to be given in Irish and communicate to class in Irish."

I'm not sure about this; are the giving of directions and the communicating to the class two different things? If so, I would finish the sentence: " . . . and communication to the class was in Irish, too."

"They had a Cert for Christian Doctrine (Like Dip. Religion now)"

"Like" doesn't need to be capitalized. I think you should spell out "Diploma" (if that's what "Dip." stands for). And you need a period at the end of the sentence.

"As Mrs. X was in the Teacher traingin college from 1958 till 1960, the marraige ban that had come into effect in 1932 didnt restarin her as this decision was removed from the code in June 30 1958 by Minister Mr.Lynch and had been operative since July 1, 1958."

Oops--you've got some typos. Check your spelling on "training," "marriage," and "restrain." You also need an apostrophe in "didn't," a comma after "her," commas on either side of the first "1958," and a space between "Mr." and "Lynch." I would end the sentence after this gentleman's name, since the rest restates what you just said.

I'm guessing that you wrote this last part in a hurry, is that right? :-) I understand, believe me!

As for your question about context: I'm not much more clear about what they want than you are, but I would assume that you're supposed to tie Mrs. X's current teaching practices to her educational background. For instance, does she run a strict classroom because of her strict training, or does she go in the opposite direction? How much Irish does she speak to her pupils? Does she include Irish stories and/or history? Are the sewing lessons still a part of the modern curricula (I hope not!), and if so, how does she feel about that? Does she think pupils today are too loud, compared with the relative silence of her schooling? I suggest taking each element that you have written about and asking yourself how Mrs. X is incorporating it (or rejecting it) in her classroom today.

I hope this has been helpful. Good luck, and best wishes!

Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP superkaytee 10 / 30  
Dec 17, 2006   #10
Hi thanks for your help again. Most of the biographical section came straight from the transcribed interview.They were her own experiences.The essay criteria wants you to set the life story in context -life and policy interweaved of teacher training and gender differences as themes.I got books from the college library on these subjects but im confused as to what parts i should be writing about.

The part you said about context i dont think they r looking for as it is a retired teacher i interviewedand she didnt really comment on her own teaching
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Dec 17, 2006   #11
Hullo--

Well then, maybe you can use her training experiences as a contrast to training today. You'd certainly find some differences! And you could use the all-girl school in the gender theme. If she said anything at all about how she ran her classroom, I would include that.

I'm guessing that they want you to compare the modern day methods of instruction to those of the past. What is life like for education students today, compared to Mrs. X's experiences? The lifting of the marriage ban is one big difference for women (which also addresses the gender issue). Are more men getting into the profession nowadays? Are there salary differences between the sexes? Is teacher training more professional? Are practices like the criticism lectures encouraged or discouraged? Are music and dancing still taught?

Since your information is almost exclusively about teacher training, that's what I'd focus on.

Good luck!

Sarah

I realized as I was writing this that all the sewing and dancing--the girl stuff--might have occurred in Mrs. X's school days before she received teacher training. Or did she receive special teaching instruction at all? It may be that this will be clear to an Irish reader, but since I'm not familiar with the educational system there (especially in Mrs. X's day), I'm a little confused.
OP superkaytee 10 / 30  
Dec 17, 2006   #12
the sewing and the dancing was all the teacher training stuff.Because it was run by nuns and the priest interviewed the candidate for a teaching position it was all religious regiment, the church was in control at the time and sewing and music was part of the curriculum in schools and music is still there!
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Dec 17, 2006   #13
Yeah, I thought music might still be part of the curriculum (I took a class called Methods of Teaching Music when I was getting my degree), but I kind of doubted they still teach the tango. ;-)

It's a very interesting view of how times have changed!

Sarah
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Dec 17, 2006   #14
I wish we'd learned dancing when I was in school! I got stuck with Methods of Teaching Physical Education. :-(

Adding the additional details gives your paper more immediacy, in my opinion. I feel for Mrs. X; I wouldn't want to have been a student in her school!

Good luck with the essay. I wish I could give you more ideas on the context portion, but I'm pretty much tapped out. Take care!

Sarah
OP superkaytee 10 / 30  
Dec 17, 2006   #15
I have just added the gender difference theme. Does this make sense?Im not sure im hitting the difference properly?

Gender Difference

As already stated, the marriage ban was revoked by the minister Mr. Jack Lynch in 1958.The marriage ban was brought in, in 1932 requiring that all women teachers retire from teaching on marriage. This rule remained for twenty five years and when the rule was evoked the terms of revokement were sent to managers and teachers by the Department of Education. The I.N.T.O. were against this ban at the time of consideration, as in their opinion, as they stated' parents favour married women teachers' and 'the regulation will mean fewer marriages'. This ban was extensively argued and they brought it to the notice of various T.D.'s and other representatives to enlist support for opposition to the proposed ban ,but, in 1932, a letter from the Government informing of their consideration of the proposal still felt there was a need for the ban. The Government gave reasons for the introduction of the ban one reason stating ' the continuance of women teachers on marriage must mean some loss either to the school or to the home'. The Government saw women as inferior after they got married and envisioned that a loss would be made to the education provided. There were a lot of girls in the training colleges at that time who were concerned with their examinations and workload to have noticed what an impact this ban would have on them in their future careers. Their fate was determined for them before they had left the training college.

This ban penalized the young women teachers but they also started to penalize the older generation as well. The 1914 pension rule enforced the statutory age for retirement would be at age 60 for women teachers but in comparison allowed men to retire at age 65. A woman however could remain in the workforce until age 65 only if her service provided was efficient in these years. These two requirements on women teachers happened with five years; a relatively short space of time but in both cases it was a way of undoing the errors the Authorities had made with the overflowing supply of trained teachers entering the workforce and under demand of placements. The Authorities themselves were responsible for this lack of judgment and foresight thus penalizing the women teachers who deserved a long and prosperous career.

Is there anything i should add?
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Dec 17, 2006   #16
I think you've got it pretty well covered, although I'm certainly no expert on Irish educational policy history. :-) But yes, it does make sense, and I think this is probably exactly the kind of thing they are looking for in your essay. The part about the pensions is another good example of gender preferances.

I'd advise you to change "teaching on marriage" in the second sentence to "teaching when they got married." Otherwise, it sounds like they were banned from teaching the subject of marriage.

Be sure to read the whole essay out loud when you finish it, paying close attention to what you hear. That way you can catch any small errors that you overlooked when reading it, or any sentences that aren't quite as clear as you'd like them to be.

Hope this helps!

Sarah
OP superkaytee 10 / 30  
Dec 17, 2006   #17
I also could do with your advice on concuding the essay.Any ideas?
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Dec 17, 2006   #18
Well, the usual way to write a concluding paragraph is to restate your thesis, then sum up the points you have made in the body text, along with any solutions you may be able to offer, or suggestions for further research into the topic.

In this case, I believe your thesis was that educational training methods have changed considerably since Mrs. X's day, is that correct? You could then say something about how the situation is better now for women, and why; you could also mention how the strict schooling she received has been replaced by _______ (I'm not sure what, but I'll bet you know, since you're going through it!).

I don't know that this type of essay requires solutions or suggestions for further research, but you might say something about the general state of teacher education in Ireland ("Teachers today are fortunate that Irish teacher education has progressed in attitude and policy", or something like that).

Sarah
OP superkaytee 10 / 30  
Dec 17, 2006   #19
ok thanks. ill start with the conclusion with the tips you gave me. with the gender difference paragraph im not sure that I have got the adequate amount of info as im not describing anything about men but i cant seem to locate anything even on the net( which has scarce info about educational systems in Ireland) to add to the paragraph.
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Dec 17, 2006   #20
You can only include the things you can find. :-)

I hope this will go well for you. You've certainly put a lot of effort into it!

I'm retiring for the evening, but I wanted to wish you the best before I went. Take care!

Sarah


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