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Dispersed Narratives and Powerful Teacher Education Pedagogy

International Teacher Education: Promising Pedagogies (Part A)

ISBN: 978-1-78441-136-7

Publication date: 1 December 2014


Careful attention to experience is often the starting point for narrative inquiries into teaching and learning. This chapter uses autobiographical reflection on pedagogical experiences, young peoples’ drawings, and examples of narrative research to demonstrate the value of sharing and connecting personal stories. In the context of evidence-based reforms in education and a focus on accountability and teaching standards, Australian governments, like others, express concern about the “quality” of teacher education and are looking to models of school-based “training.” While apprenticeship models of teacher education are considered inadequate, stronger partnerships between schools and universities are desirable. I argue that rather than continuing to be at the periphery, narrative research and pedagogies can exist as a central thread in teacher education programs, which have stronger connections to schools, teachers, and young people because they reveal the complexity of teaching and learning processes, enable deeper levels of understanding, and foster a critical reflective stance. I use examples from practice to show how narrative pedagogies contextualize, problematize, and clarify personal values and experience, theory, policy, and issues of practice. Nowhere is this more powerful than in situations where dispersed narratives, told orally, in writing and through visual representations sit alongside of one another and collide. Dispersed narratives challenge the view that narratives are contained and individualized. Rather than being discrete, they exist as intertextual connections or networks of meaning that can be created by groups of people not necessarily confined by space and time. This chapter aims to open a space for the continued thinking about how dispersed narratives can be used in teacher education to deepen professional learning.



McGraw, A. (2014), "Dispersed Narratives and Powerful Teacher Education Pedagogy", International Teacher Education: Promising Pedagogies (Part A) (Advances in Research on Teaching, Vol. 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 173-193.



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