“Of Being and not Being:” Colombian Public Elementary School Teachers’ Oscillating Identities

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Álvaro Hernán Quintero Polo
Carmen Helena Guerrero Nieto


This article presents the partial results of a larger study conducted in Bogotá (Colombia) with public elementary school teachers. Given their nature, and since they are equally affected not only by one, but by every policy of the Colombian educational system, the primary school teachers cannot be treated here as if they taught English only. They are responsible for teaching all subjects (math, social studies, physical education, English, Spanish, etc.). Data were collected through focus groups. Partial results show that the teachers’ identities range from feeling powerful to feeling powerless, depending on where they stand, that is, the field of knowledge, in the classroom, and in their relationship with the policies makers.

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Quintero Polo, Álvaro H., & Guerrero Nieto, C. H. (2013). “Of Being and not Being:” Colombian Public Elementary School Teachers’ Oscillating Identities. HOW, 20(1), 190–205. Retrieved from https://howjournalcolombia.org/index.php/how/article/view/30
Research Reports
Author Biographies

Álvaro Hernán Quintero Polo, Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Bogotá

Álvaro Hernán Quintero Polo is a doctoral candidate in education from Universidad Santo Tomás. He is a full time teacher of the BA in Basic Education programme with an Emphasis on English at Universidad Distrital in Bogota, Colombia. He is a co-director of the research group Estudios Críticos de Políticas Educativas Colombianas.

Carmen Helena Guerrero Nieto, Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Bogotá

Carmen Helena Guerrero Nieto holds a PhD in SLAT from the University of Arizona, Tucson. She is a full time teacher of the MA in Communication and Education programme at Universidad Distrital in Bogota, Colombia. She is a codirector of the research group Estudios Críticos de Políticas Educativas Colombianas.


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