research and teaching interests in teacher education, teacher identity, professional development, at-risk teachers, secondary language and science education
What’s up with this book? “ This book charts fifteen years of narrative research on difficulty at the site of the teaching self” (p. vii). “ Although I value many kinds of authentic research, this work particularly has contributed qualitatively to my understanding and knowledge about difficulty in education, narrative research, the practice of teaching, and the curriculum of being” (p. vii). “ I do not presume to write a narrative ‘methods’ textbook prescribing how others might conduct inquiries around their own compelling questions” (p. vii). “ I offer an honest, phenomenological description, a hermeneutic inquiry into difficulties arising at the site of the teaching self, as a way of learning to be present in the generative space of educational work” (p. vii).
For your consideration... (an encouraging and cautionary note) “ Narrative research can be an authentic, autobiographical project which requires ethical stewardship, literary skill, intelligent attention, erudite writing craft, and a persistent, sentient, honest hermeneutic vision on the part of such a researcher” (p. 7). “ Narrative research can also be too narcissistic, a banal project that involves mostly self-interest, lack of scholarly discipline, misappropriation of the experiences of one’s ‘research subjects,’ and simplistic, weak, reflective interpretation and facile judgment” (p. 7).
7 orbital spheres of narrative analysis “ Narrative research is not for the faint of heart, certainly not for those seeking escape from quantitative research. Horizons unfamiliar will emerge, some daunting, some redemptive. A choice to engage in narrative research should arise out of authentic research questions. It is the very difficulty itself revealed in emerging narrative that draws deeper study, luring the teacherly and writerly mind to more benthic zones of the self and profession” (p. 29). “ When teachers become harried, lose their confidence, begin to question life in teaching, lose patience with students, colleagues, administrators, parents, and politicians, they often construct stories of their increasing difficulty” (p. 27). “ There is a kind of post-secondary institutional harassment that still abides, this time because (education grad students) may be drawn to qualitative, interpretive inquiry. Because teachers and school administrators themselves are so well institutionalized, most conform and follow widely accepted forms of research, usually in the quantitative, scientific traditions” (p. 27).
what constitutes the ‘container’ or temenos of the story? (can we identify the elements of convention, structure, and craft that hold the story together?)
“ This fourth orbital focuses on how the narrative construction safely holds everything in one place - people, events, relationships, setting, and difficulty or conflict - long enough to study it” (p. 30).