ERG SES E 09, Leadership and Education
Topic Overview and Objectives: With the occurrence of massification within the academy little is known internationally how this might be impacting on university tutors’ identities, and consequently on the leadership of their teaching. The objective of the proposed paper is to share results that comprise initial data collected as part of a larger, internationally-focused PhD study that seeks to explore the professional identities of university tutors who teach students in their first year of tertiary study where student enrolments are typically high and the cohorts increasingly diverse. This research thus explores an aspect of the massification of higher education; a continuing trend observed in the higher education landscape across the world.
Research Questions: The following questions are those that guide the overall PhD project that the research presented is part of. This case study illustrates the first attempt to address these questions.
Key research question: How can the lived experiences of university tutors provide insight into their professional identities and practice in the context of teaching in large, first-year, undergraduate classes?
- How do tutors (working within this context) describe their teacher leadership identity and articulate their personal pedagogies?
- How do tutors from different institutions differ in their narratives of identity and attitudes to the leadership of teaching?
- What elements of identity construction emerge as important for this group?
- How do tutor narratives help to make sense of the challenges associated with teaching large, diverse cohorts of first-year students?
- How do tutors experience ‘imposed pedagogy’?
Theoretical Framework: Narrative inquiry was selected as it reveals the objectives of human actors, aiding in the understanding of whole cultures, societies; puts a face to time, and permits reflection and transformation (Clandinin, 2006; Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; Polkinghorne, 1988; Richardson, 1990; Ricoeur, 1991). Narrative, or storytelling, records people’s experiences and thus sense-making, through the telling and re-telling of stories and has been used to depict human experience since early times in human history (Dyson & Ganishi, 1994; Olsen & Craig, 2009; Webster & Mertova, 2007). Narrative is also highly suitable for understanding human experience in relation to teaching and learning activities (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; Webster & Mertova, 2007). It is complex and rich and cannot be captured experimentally using statistical derivations and numerical summaries given the depth and nature of interconnectedness between storytelling and human experience (Webster & Mertova, 2007).
Polkinghorne (1988) described how people tend to arrange their experiences into what he referred to as ‘meaningful episodes’, meaning that experience events are connected by stories. Experience, according to Clandinin and Connelly (2000) is temporal, but happens narratively. “Narrative inquiry is a form of narrative experience. Therefore educational experience should be studied narratively.” (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000, p. 19). During the recording of experiences over time, in the form of stories of their responses to events, tutor participants are able to reflect upon and make meaning from these experiences. In doing so, they are perhaps offering the international community a unique view of the teacher-leader self and therefore permitting a greater understanding of their professional identities and practice.
Bamberg , M., & Georgakopoulou, A. (2008). Small stories as a new perspective in narrative and identity analysis. Text & Talk, 28(3), 377-396. Clandinin, D. J. (2006). Handbook of Narrative Inquiry: Mapping a Methodology. SAGE Publications. Retrieved from http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=EgimAwAAQBAJ Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Dyson, A. H., & Genishi, C. (1994). The need for story: Cultural diversity in classroom and community. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English. Retrieved from: http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED365991 Georgakopoulou, A. (2006). Small and large identities in narrative (inter)action. In A. De Fina, D. Schiffrin, & M. Bamberg (Eds.), Discourse and identity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Olsen, M. R. & Craig, C. J. (2009). "Small" stories and meganarratives: Accountability in balance. Teachers College Record, 111(2), 547–572 Polkinghorne, D. E. (1988). Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences. SUNY Press. Retrieved from http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=kWpGAAAAQBAJ Richardson, L. (1990). Narrative and Sociology. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 19(1), 116–135. http://doi.org/10.1177/089124190019001006 Ricoeur, P. (1991). Narrative Identity. Philosophy Today, 35(1), 73. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.aut.ac.nz/docview/205350231/abstract?accountid=8440 Webster, L., & Mertova, P. (2007). Using narrative inquiry as a research method. Oxon: Routledge. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.nz/books?hl=en&lr=&id=caZ_AgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=explanation,+introduction,+narration,+inquiry,+summary&ots=-XWIqmzSit&sig=xDhu4kjuemZSJDN7tOayI8A6IrY#v=onepage&q&f=false
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