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The Dickensian Image of the School Teacher


by Terrence Whaley — 1989

Dickens creates mythic characters, representations so large, familiar, and memorable as to alter the way we perceive our institutions and cultural experience. Because of the continuous popularity of his novels and the peculiar strength of his portrayal of teachers and teaching, schooling is one such institution shaped in our imaginations by the influence of his work. I shall examine this portrayal in order to account for the nature and strength of its influence, a negative one, as I will show, which has armed the detractors of teachers and teaching in our society with some of their most damaging images and notions about schooling.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 88, No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 90 Number 5, 1989, p. 36-59
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18928, Date Accessed: 10/23/2017 6:35:27 PM

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About the Author
  • Terrence Whaley
    Lewis & Clark College
    E-mail Author
    TERRENCE WHALEY is an adjunct professor in Lewis & Clark College's graduate core program and a teacher of secondary English in the Seattle Public Schools.
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