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Researching professional recognition in a pre-school setting: a critical realist approach
journal contributionposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Tebeje Molla MekonnenTebeje Molla Mekonnen, Andrea NolanAndrea Nolan
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The primary purpose of this paper is to illustrate how a critical realist approach can add to our understanding of professional recognition of educators in a pre-school setting. Recognition is a function of personal achievement and social arrangement, and is understood through examining those subjective conditions and objective structures as observed in the field of practice or as articulated by the actors involved. Through in-depth interviews, we provoked early childhood educators to deliberate on their lived experiences of professional recognition vis-à-vis policy expectations and institutional practices. In doing so, we identified interactive forces that influence professional recognition in a pre-school context. We argue that a stratified view of reality and epistemic relativism espoused by critical realists offers valuable theoretical insights for exploring teacher professional recognition. Finally, drawing on our empirical data and latest literature, we outline four points of reflection regarding the analytical advantages of critical realism.