Black Female Teachers in White-Dominated Educational Spaces: Narratives of Professional Identity

Prof Doc Thesis

Ramdeo, J. (2022). Black Female Teachers in White-Dominated Educational Spaces: Narratives of Professional Identity. Prof Doc Thesis London South Bank University School of Law and Social Sciences
AuthorsRamdeo, J.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This study provides a narrative account of the experiences of 10 Black female teachers as they navigate white-dominated educational workspaces and explores how these experiences have shaped their professional identities. Very little research has focussed on Black female teachers’ professional identities
specifically in England. This study therefore seeks to address the apparent gap, thus contributing to further understanding Black women as teachers, using Critical Race Theory in education and consciousness of Black feminist thought.
The foundations of the two theories led to using narrative inquiry as the methodology. A semi-structured interview approach was used to elicit accounts from participants at various stages of their careers in a range of state-funded schools across England. The data were analysed through both theoretical lenses. Thematic analysis was undertaken to draw out commonalities of experiences to accumulate knowledge from the richness of individual stories.
The findings suggested that participants experienced a number of oppressions in their schools, demonstrated through a lack of career progression, being perceived by white colleagues through stereotyped images of Black women and the impact of seeing unjust practices towards Black and minoritised learners. Despite this, participants held a positive view of themselves. They drew their ability to resist hegemonic stereotyped images from their parents’, particularly their fathers’ aspirations for them and their agency maintaining positive professional self-definitions. Further, they drew on an enhanced definition of Du Bois’ double consciousness, that of ‘Blackness’ and ‘gender’, for agentic action to drive for inclusive educational practices and to facilitate positive consequences, especially for minoritised children, their families and staff representation, whilst challenging normative stereotypes of Black women.
This study found that participants held a unique experiential positionality in white-dominated school spaces, the implications of which provides a positive counter-narrative to encourage Black women to enter and remain in teaching. Further, it provides evidence of the impact of schools’ practices on their Black female workforce and a rationale for making positive cultural changes.

PublisherLondon South Bank University
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Publication dates
Print14 Apr 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Nov 2022
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