Managing Status: A Grounded Theory of Teacher Migration from Zimbabwe to South Africa
AbstractThe migration of Zimbabwean teachers to South Africa has received little attention in terms of scholarly research. This paper focuses on factors which influence teacher migration from Zimbabwe to South Africa as they function in a grounded theory of teacher migration. Using a constructivist grounded theory approach; data were gathered from thirteen teacher migrants resident in South Africa for five years or less selected by theoretical sampling. Data gathering comprised written and oral life history accounts, which focused on the participants’ main concerns during the migration process. Data analysis comprised initial, intermediate and advanced coding which led to the generation of a grounded theory on teacher migration revolving around the core category of Status. Levels of status were positioned on a continuum from Further diminished status, Diminished status, Ideal status to Ideal status surpassed. Migration, labelled as Escape due to its distinctive properties, was a demanding and last-resort process to maintain or achieve an ideal status understood in terms of three domains: working conditions, standard of living and social prestige that teacher professionals expect as normative. Prior to migration teachers adopted strategies to pull things together; when this process failed, teachers experienced things falling apart. In conclusion, the credibility and fit of the grounded theory is weighed within the framework of selected extant sociological and migration theories.
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