Narrative Inquiries into Curriculum Making in Teacher Education: Volume 13

Cover of Narrative Inquiries into Curriculum Making in Teacher Education

Table of contents

(21 chapters)

This is the book many of us need and have been waiting for. Graduate studies are a transformative educational experience in teacher's lives. Exhausted teachers sitting down for an evening's master's level course after a day of teaching often say they are rejuvenated by the opportunity to reflect on their hectic days. Doctoral graduates often speak of their doctoral programs as intellectually life changing. In the idiom of this book, doctoral graduates feel they have retold a story of themselves as educators. But, inevitably, the real test begins. How to relive this retold story as many take up the role of teacher educator. Their students' journeys are altogether different than their own transformative journey through graduate school. Their students are under pressure to successfully take up the job of school teacher. Their landscape of teaching and learning is altogether unlike the professional development landscape of experienced teachers, and it is altogether unlike the teaching/learning landscape of university level graduate studies. As newly minted graduates with a new teacher education job at hand realize, what to do with one's retold story is a puzzle. They ask, “How can I use narrative inquiry in my teacher education classes? No one else is teaching it in my faculty and all the courses seem to be about content and teaching method.” Depending on circumstances, some add “What do I do about the new school policies that I really don't understand but which don't seem to fit what I'm thinking?” What seemed so transformative in graduate school now seems to present a mountainous hurdle. It is a hurdle in the sense that this is the moment to begin reliving the retold story.

This is a book for teacher educators. It is also a book for teacher candidates and educational stakeholders who are interested in using storied practice in teacher education. It is about teacher educators and teacher candidates as curriculum makers (Clandinin & Connelly, 1992) who engage in narrative inquiry practice. As editors of this volume, we came to this important writing project as a result of our respective work using narrative inquiry that originated from our studies with Dr. Michael Connelly and Dr. Jean Clandinin. In a large sense, this book represents our interpretations, as second-generation narrative inquirers, of three main ideas: narrative inquiry, curriculum making, and teacher education. Narrative inquiry, curriculum making, and teacher education are vitally interconnected concepts that offer an alternative way of understanding the current landscape of education. Narrative inquiry in teacher education would not have been possible without the groundbreaking work of Connelly and Clandinin.

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to trace the origins of narrative inquiry as an empirical research method specifically created to examine how teachers come to know in their own terms.

Approach – The chapter reviews key conceptualizations in the teaching and teacher education field chronologically.

Findings – The review begins with Clandinin and Connelly's groundbreaking work concerning teachers’ personal practical knowledge, the professional knowledge landscapes of schools, and stories to live by (teacher identity). Three other important narrative conceptualizations on the research line are then highlighted: narrative resonance, narrative authority, and knowledge communities. Special attention is also paid to how narrative inquiry has fueled studies having to do with curriculum, subject matter, and culture. Narrative inquiry's important contributions to the emergence of the self-study of teaching and teacher education practices genre of research is additionally highlighted, along with several more recent advances having to do with collaborative narrative inquiries, studies with children, and reforming school landscapes.

Research implications – Lingering issues relating to narrative inquiry's acceptance as a legitimate research approach are also discussed; latent opportunities are likewise paid attention.

Value – The value of the chapter is that it is the first work that has specifically followed developments on the Connelly–Clandinin research line. The chapter shows the major contributions that the world-class research program – and the associated research projects spawned from it – have made to teaching and teacher education internationally.

Purpose – This chapter explores the complexity and tensions inherent in the question of how story becomes research with particular attention to the use of narrative research in studying teacher education.

Approach – To do this, we begin each section with a narrative fragment from earlier published research in which we collaborated (Hamilton, 1995). Then, we use narrative research analysis tools to explore the meaning of each fragment, lay that understanding alongside research accounts and wonderings about research in and by teacher educators, and consider the fragment in terms of specific understandings of narrative inquiry as research methodology for studying teacher education.

Findings – This chapter examines when story moves to research while probing the tensions between knowledge and living as teachers, teacher educators, and teacher educator researchers. Using the first fragment, we explore fulfilling roles as a teacher educator by using a narrative analysis tool that teases apart the author's role of narrator, actor, and character. In the second fragment, we consider the contexts that influence a teacher educator researcher by examining the fragment to determine the levels of narrative. In the third fragment, we utilize the tools of plotlines and tensions to unpack the competing plotlines of epistemology (modernist vs. narrative) ending with an examination of the importance of ontology in narrative work. In our fourth fragment, we unpack nine approaches to narrative by examining the essential role of story for each element of the research process.

Research implications – As teacher educator researchers, we always stand in the midst – in the midst of the story where we may be simultaneously narrator, character, and actor, in the midst of living the research we are most interested in studying. Within a single moment, we can act as teacher, teacher educator, and teacher educator researcher when our research focuses on our own practice. Our experience as we live it represents the tension between arrival and arriving.

Value – The value of this chapter is the way in which it demonstrates narrative analysis and distinguishes among various approaches to narrative research.

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to explore issues of language, culture, and identity within the context of diversity in educational settings, specifically among teachers and professors of education.

Approach – This chapter explores issues of language, culture and identity through an account of the author's stories of experience as the child of immigrants who survived the Holocaust, a teacher in multicultural classrooms and, particularly, a professor of education.

Findings – This chapter highlights the importance of sharing stories of lived experiences – particularly as they relate to language, culture and identity – as a crucial step in engaging empathetically with the experiences of students from diverse backgrounds. The importance of engaging holistically, emotionally and aesthetically are highlighted.

Research implications – This narrative inquiry makes visible how a professor of education can live out a curriculum alongside her graduate students in education as a way of helping them as teachers live alongside their students.

Value – The value of this chapter is its use of personal narratives and incidents in the university classroom to highlight the importance of caring relationship in the promotion of equity and diversity, especially in relation to language, culture and identity.

Purpose – This chapter examines the complexity and contextuality of storying curriculum making in a collaborative landscape of teaching and research, as it moves from telling stories of collaborative curriculum making toward exploring curriculum within a collaborative landscape. This work is based on our lived experience of 9 years of collaborating as a team of teacher educators.

Methodology and Findings – Three stories are at the focus of our study – the unfolding story of the collaborative writing of this chapter and two stories that relate to our curriculum planning in the more traditional sense, illustrating almost opposing sides of a collaboration continuum: A story of creating and preserving contrasted with a story of creating and changing. Together, these examples present a picture of the way we experience the making of curriculum in a collaborative landscape: building and teaching a program of learning for our students in tandem with team learning of our own.

Value of paper – The collaborative landscape revealed in this chapter, with its tensions and opportunities, serves as basis for discussing the issue of territory as an overarching concept for the redefinition of questions regarding ownership, authorship and identities. These issues become crucial in a collaborative situation, in which one has to compromise on definition of clear cut working space.

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to examine how the exploration of metaphors of learning and teaching can contribute to the professional development of teacher candidates and teacher educators.

Approach – The chapter draws on the author's experiences as a teacher and teacher educator to illustrate ways in which metaphors of teaching offer deeper understandings of the personal and social dimensions of teaching and teacher education practices.

Findings – Metaphors and other artifacts by the author and teacher candidates are examined to illustrate how metaphors have been be used to story experience in teacher education.

Research implications – Imagining and re-imagining metaphors provide a solid foundation for the preparation and development of teachers. Engaging teacher candidates in the identification and development of their metaphors of learning and teaching contributes to their development into teachers able to understand the experiences of their students and adapt their teaching to enhance student learning. The exploration of metaphor can also help teacher educators to better understand their professional identities and practices.

Value – Teacher educators are uniquely positioned to help teachers explore how their teacher images inform practice and to analyze these images to enhance personal professional knowledge and teaching practices.

Purpose – This chapter explores letter writing as a narrative inquiry method in a teacher education course. The written dialog in letters by teacher candidates provided the author with deep and long-term reflection on teacher candidates' narratives of experience. In particular, the chapter examines how related literacy narratives combine critical written dialog with the written responses and counter-narratives of peers and a teacher educator.

Methodology and findings – The chapter focuses on letter correspondences from three teacher candidate participants in a longitudinal study as well as response letters to those candidates from the teacher educator. Transactional inquiry and relational knowing are conceptualizations that are employed to explore how the teacher candidates and the teacher educator are curriculum makers.

Value – The chapter discusses the impact of letter writing-related literacy narratives as a narrative inquiry method in teacher education programs as well as possible extensions for their use in graduate courses/research and for teacher development programs.

Purpose – This narrative inquiry chronicles our experiences in a social studies methods course and the understandings we gained as we engaged alongside our teacher candidates in democratic practices.

Approach – Our narrative inquiry began as we wondered whether modeling democratic practices and establishing democratic classrooms in our social studies methods courses would enable future teachers to construct democratic classrooms. Through analysis of our field notes from several semesters, we captured and examined our process of curriculum making with our teacher candidates.

Findings – Through recounting and unpacking four stories of our curriculum making, we demonstrate that to prepare future teachers to prepare their students as citizens, teacher educators must do more than merely model democratic practices. While modeling, they must explicitly teach the concepts behind the practices and attend to nondemocratic and missed opportunities for engaging in democratic practices. They must create opportunities for teacher candidates to plan, practice, observe, and critique democratic practices.

Value – To many, social studies is limited to the study and memorization of facts about history and geography. However, the primary purpose of the K-12 social studies is citizenship education (NCSS, 1994). Social studies teacher educators are responsible to prepare future teachers to meet this purpose through social studies methods courses where democratic practices are modeled and explicitly taught, and where teacher candidates are given opportunities to engage in democratic classrooms.

Purpose – This chapter focuses on how teacher candidates engage in a process of body mapping to narratively inquire into how their daily informal and formal music experiences inform elementary music teaching practices.

Methodology and findings – In a primary/junior music education course at Brock University, teacher candidates utilize a course assignment to create a visual narrative (body map), along with oral and written narratives that outline their music experiences. Through this narrative inquiry, teacher candidates become aware of how their personal lived experiences influence their perceptions about elementary music teaching. This chapter offers conceptualizations of five threads that emerged from the narratives: process of body mapping and musical experience, music everywhere, school influences, family, and fear.

Value – This inquiry deepens understandings of curriculum making possibilities in elementary music teacher education as teacher candidates begin to form their music teacher identity based on their lived experiences. Such visual, oral, and written narratives contribute to increased narrative understandings by demonstrating the power teacher candidates' personal music experiences have in shaping teacher identity and, in turn, teaching practice.

Purpose – This narrative inquiry explores one teacher educator's curriculum making process (Connelly & Clandinin, 1992) to elicit teacher candidates' emotional and analytic engagement with multicultural education.

Approach – Three semesters of fieldnotes, from one teacher educator's planning and execution of a blended learning format multicultural teacher education course, with face-to-face classes and asynchronous instruction through technology, document her struggles to create a blended learning curriculum model that explicitly addresses ways to impact teacher candidates' dispositions toward multicultural issues.

Findings – The inquiry raises hopeful questions about the possibilities of using stories and technology in a multicultural teacher education blended learning delivery setting. Additionally, the inquiry highlights fruitful tensions involved in making space for the stories of teacher candidates from both nondominant and dominant culture to become part of the curriculum of the class.

Research implications – Narrative inquiry's application as an empirical research method in the field of multicultural education is demonstrated. Highlighted particularly is the capacity in narrative inquiry methods to document places of tension and inclusion in multicultural teacher education.

Value – Awareness of the potential of storied ways of approaching diversity and the benefits of negotiating the tensions involved are of value to teacher educators exploring curriculum making in a blended learning format. Blended learning is reconceptualized beyond the blending of face-to-face and technologically mediated class sessions to include a notion of blending planned and lived curriculum and public and private learning opportunities.

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to define and explain a curriculum of parents, its purpose and importance as an addition to teacher education curriculum, and how the author lives out this curriculum alongside teacher candidates.

Approach – The chapter gives an account of the author's narrative inquiry into the lived experiences of two teacher candidates who were engaged in a curriculum of parents.

Findings – The chapter highlights how the teacher candidates’ acceptance of dominant notions of parents as outsiders to the processes of schooling or as individuals to be wary or fearful of was interrupted by their experiences within a curriculum of parents. An account is given of their dis/positioning as they came to “un-know” their understandings of professional as someone with power and control and to reknow it as an act of standing together with parents; as a reflection of the “person to person.”

Research implications – This initial narrative inquiry makes visible how intentionally making and living out a curriculum of parents alongside teacher candidates impacts their beliefs and assumptions about parents and the way in which they position themselves as teachers in their work with parents and families.

Value – The value of the chapter is that it is the first work that has detailed a curriculum of parents. The chapter shows the major contributions such a curriculum can add to teacher education programs – as it moves the curricular commonplace of milieu from a subordinated position in relation to the other commonplaces of student, teacher, and subject matter to one of coordination.

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to retell the narratives of a preservice teacher and a teacher educator as they lived a story of critical literacy and curriculum-making as a curriculum of lives.

Approach – The chapter presents a year-long narrative inquiry centered on the revisioning of curriculum for an undergraduate literacy course for preservice teachers.

Findings – The researcher broadened her understanding of teacher and teacher educators as curriculum makers to include preservice teachers as curriculum makers. As preservice teachers in the literacy course were invited to reflect on their own literacy backgrounds, several crucial narratives emerged that shaped new understandings for the researcher/teacher educator and drew her into her own curriculum-making with moral purpose. One preservice teacher began a journey of narrative authority and curriculum-making as a curriculum of lives in a subsequent field experience, even through the mire of political pressure in schools.

Research implications – The preservice teacher's retelling featured children who discovered newfound understandings of social justice through literary ways of knowing and critical literacy events. She developed new understandings of how to help public school students value and define their literacies and their life events, all of which folded back into the undergraduate literacy course.

Value – Teacher educators can be encouraged to walk in relationship with their preservice teachers, valuing human experiences and lives as curriculum rather than relenting to top-down, politically driven, outside curriculum.

Purpose – The purpose of the chapter is to describe the use of narrative inquiry in a teacher education preservice course on issues in education focused on culture.

Approach – The course is positioned among the different kinds of teacher education courses and then described in terms of course assignments and categories of student response.

Findings – It is shown how reflective narrative inquiry activities work toward student understanding of idea that all students are “other” and may be understood in terms of intergenerational family educational narratives. Three specific sources of tension are discussed under three headings “My school has no newcomers and no need for inclusive lesson plans,” “They should adapt to us,” and “But I have no culture.” The ideas of a cross-cultural bridge and reciprocity in leaning between newcomers and the receiving society ties the discussion together along with the author's experience with the subject matter of the course.

Research implications – This work opens an avenue of inquiry into one of the more difficult and widely discussed areas in teacher education aimed at social cohesion and growth.

Value – The value of this work is that it extends Connelly and Clandinin's ideas on curriculum of life to specific issues faced in cultural subject matter in preservice teacher education.

Judith Barak is the former head of the ACE program, is currently head of the graduate school of education at Kaye Academic College of Education in Beer Sheva, Israel. Her work focuses on educational innovations and creating collaborative relations. Her research aims at a deeper understanding of learning environments and their interrelations to professional development processes. She is involved mostly in collaborative self-study stemming from her lived experiences. Recent publications include “From the inside out: Learning to understand and appreciate multiple voices through telling identities” (2009), “‘Without stones there is no arch’: A study of professional development of teacher educators as a team” (2010), and “Conversations in a collaborative space: From stories to concepts to dimensions” (2010).

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Advances in Research on Teaching
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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