This paper reflects on the works of Erving Goffman's model “Performances in the Presentation of Self in Everyday Life”. I have looked at how it applies to the teacher particularly in the classroom situation. This paper will function as a description detailing one sociological perspective from which life can be studied. This focal point as written is especially pertinent to the kind of social life that is organized within the boundaries of an institution like a school. The perspective employed by Goffman is that of the Dramaturgical Model or Theatrical Performance. Goffman looks at social behaviour as role like behaviour that is scripted by the expectations of both the individual and by society. These performances are how people manage the impressions that others have of them. This is referred to as ‘front’; the fronts are broken down into setting, appearance and manner. Front stage behaviour is what is evident in every day life.
The most central part of Goffman’s performance representation is the use of role. That is the particular image that the ‘actor’ wants to put across. Teachers as part of their work are expected to project an appearance of professionalism appropriate to the position. Being seen as a professional is a necessary way of conveying credibility to the students and parents, it is a skill that a teacher needs to possess to be taken legitimately. Most people have preconceived ideas of the role expectations of a teacher that includes having the knowledge and skills to act as a teacher in an expected manner.
Dramaturgical theory though, does not seem to take into account the varied emotional dimension of a teachers work. The role-playing concept seems to be somewhat inflexible because of its link to the normalised social expectations. The emotional extent of teachers work requires a more complex quality rather than a straightforward performance. Goffmans theory seems to have an approach that does not account for... [continues]
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