A Narrative Inquiry into the Interweaving Narratives of the Personal and Professional Selves of Two Beginning Teachers in India
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Because of the highly contested nature of the contexts of teaching, polarization has increased. Some dichotomies have been interpreted as gaps between theory and practice; as incompatibilities between the roles of a teacher as a learner and a teacher as an expert; as bifurcations between the images of teacher-as-curriculum-implementer and teacher-as-a-curriculum maker (Clandinin & Connelly, 1992; Craig & Ross, 2008) and as differences in methodological approaches and ethical considerations between research conducted on teachers and research conducted with teachers and so forth. Scholarly work by Dewey (1938), Schwab (1969), Eisner (1985), Jackson (1968), Clandinin and Connelly (Clandinin & Connelly, 1995), enabled me to bridge some of these dichotomies through the use of narrative inquiry. In my study, I focus on the beginning teachers’ narratives as they transition from preservice to in-service teaching with an emphasis placed on their developing knowledge and identities. My research relationship with my participants, who are based in India, began three years ago when they were in the final year of their teacher education program. I have continued to engage them in personal communications as they have transitioned to teaching in the school. Using the methodology of narrative inquiry (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990; Clandinin & Connelly, 2000), which involved in-depth interviews, casual conversations and artifacts shared, I came to understand nuanced changes in their knowledge and identities. Through their telling and re-telling of educational experiences, they implicated the complex nexus of their personal and professional selves. Their personal stories to live by (Clandinin & Connelly, 1998) continue to influence their professional stories in the classrooms. As beginning teachers, their rich narrative accounts present their attempts at enacting relational and critical pedagogy in their practice. This research contributes to the discourse on teacher education programs, preservice teachers, and beginning teachers. Attending to ways beginning teachers make sense of their transitions from preservice to in-service and their selves in the midst of it all, opens possibilities for teacher education curriculum development and enactment in a manner that is inclusive of teacher’s stories. This inquiry locates teacher’s developing knowledge and identities in a manner that it is comprehensible, collaborative and leads to a discourse around practices of teaching. It acknowledges the narrative self-in-the-midst of a teacher’s professional enactments and portrayals, trying to bridge the dichotomies existing in teacher education and teaching. This inquiry makes openings for conversations about the importance of deep and guided reflections for teachers ensuring sustenance in their career. The study also acknowledges the value of space for self in ensuring teacher preparation towards inclusive and social just education.
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