10 SES 04 C, Narratives and Global Consciousness in Teacher Education
Education is related to take responsibility, as adults, for looking for the well-being of young people and deciding what is appropriate for every child in their specific situation (Van Manen, 2015). In other words, teaching profession is focused on practice, it means, on deliberating, deciding and acting (Connelly, 2013; Schwab, 2013), and it requires a knowledge appropriate to its nature. Therefore, teacher education is not completed only with theoretical framework, because it does not deal with the issue that teaching takes place in relation, involving teachers holistically, including their personal attitudes and frame of mind.
The needed knowledge is an experiential knowledge which integrates being and knowing, and requires reflection about the own life and act. It is a way of thinking that always complete provisionally the circle: thought, naming and reflection (Montoya, 2007). Clandinin and Connelly (1995, p. 7) describe this knowledge as “that body of convictions and meanings, conscious or unconscious, that have arisen from experience (intimate, social, and traditional) and that are expressed in a person’s practices”. Every teacher comes into the classroom with this knowledge, shaping the way in which builds the relationship with students and, as a consequence, shaping the process of curriculum making (Clandinin, 2013).
In other words, experiential knowledge is an ever-changing way of thinking and asking oneself about the meaning of lived experience and the educational relationship. Therefore, it is not a subject matter, but a knowledge that must be cultivated and an open attitude towards the world. It means, a willingness to search for new meanings and the capacity to be sensitive to the experience (Contreras, 2013). This gives raise to the research question of this paper: How can be promoted the construction of experiential knowledge in teacher education?
Teacher education must focus on cultivating a wisdom and mindset (Biesta, 2013) that take theoretical knowledge as a knowledge that is a constituent part of experience (Contreras, 2010). It means that theoretical framework does not answer to the particularity and newness of every experience, but it may orient teachers and help them to deal with tensions (which are always new and unexpected) that arise in scholar situations.
In connection with the results of previous researches (Contreras, 2016, 2017), we have tried to deal with these issues from the research project in which we are working (EDU2016-77576-P [AEI/FEDER, UE]). In order to do this, we have proposed writing stories of experience as an educational resource to mediate in the construction of experiential knowledge.
Specifically, this paper is focused on an educational experience that we developed in a Practicum subject in a Primary Teacher degree. Teacher students had to compose stories of experiences that they lived during the practical period at school (as well as other educational tasks that are specific of this teaching period). When composing stories of experience, teacher students had to choose experiences that, for any reason, were significant. Subsequently, they had to re-compose them narratively and give them a new pedagogical meaning. Therefore, the purpose was that stories of experience were a mediation between lived experience at school and their own concerns, needs and, ultimately, every one’s knowledge.
While we have designed and developed this educational proposal, we have documented, recorded and followed the process lived by every student. For this reason, the purpose of this paper is to show the results of the research that we have developed in parallel with the educational proposal.
Given that we try to understand and analyse how teacher students have lived their experience and writing process, we outline the research from a phenomenological point of view (Magrini, 2015; Van Manen, 2015). From this perspective, phenomenology inquiry does not try to generalize or look for the truth, but it intends to understand how people live and give meaning to their experience. Thus, this paper is focused on six teacher students who were studying a Primary Teacher degree in the 2016/2017 school year at the University of Malaga (Spain). Specifically, the educational experience took place in a Practicum subject. In addition to the tasks that they were told to do by teachers at school, they had to write several stories of experience, following the guidelines that have been explained before. These stories were shared periodically through a virtual platform, where the university teacher made the monitoring and mentoring. Moreover, the university teacher organized seminars regularly and used them as places to discuss and re-think about lived experiences at school and about the writing process. In this paper we focus on the process lived by students while they wrote the stories of experiences (a total of 35 stories). As it is said before, this is a writing that try to promote the construction of a knowledge linked to life at school and, at the same time, to the teacher education process. We have used three data collection instruments (Bárcena, Larrosa, & Mèlich, 2006; Sierra & Blanco, 2017; Van Manen, 2003): - Observation: one researcher has followed the process developed in the seminars (a total of 4) and she made audio recordings. - Document analysis: we have analysed the stories of experience, the diary and the final memory made by every student, in order to try to understand what meaning they give to writing in the teacher education process. - Interviews: when the Practicum period finished, we did one interview (which was recorded) with every student. Through the interviews we tried to know how they lived the teaching experience and, especially, their relationship with the stories of experience. Accordingly with the phenomenological approach, we have tried to look for structural aspects of the experience lived by students. Thus, we have organized the discussion and results following what Van Manen calls “thematic” structure (2003, p.184). It means, the themes that have arisen in the data analysis are used as guidelines to compose the research text.
When we have analysed stories of experience made by students and their writing process, we have observed three moments that could help to promote the construction of experiential knowledge: 1. Narration of the experience: most of the stories made by students were not a significant or inspiring event when they lived them, but they invited them to think when they started to construct a narrative relationship with the event. Therefore, if we want that an experience makes us think and reflect about ourselves, the first step is focus on it and narrate it. 2. Thinking about the experience. When we narrate an experience lived at school we have the possibility to start a narrative relationship with the event (Clandinin, 2013). It allows to perceive or discern stories in events and, in this way, concerns and questions about these stories arise. Thus, students are looking in this phase for a pedagogical sense, given that they try to think about themselves and their own relation with the event. 3. Pedagogical thought. When students try to link themselves with the experience they reach the last moment in the writing process: thinking about themselves and about pedagogy. At this point, writing (and thought) is focused on question themselves if they have changed, if they have found new ideas and new ways of acting in connection with a pedagogical theme. We can observe these thoughts and changes when they talk in the stories of experiences about their self-concept and self-image as teachers. We can also observe it when they express new concerns and thoughts about pedagogical thoughts such as, for example: childhood, assessment, teacher’s role, etc. Sometimes, they also accept responsibilities and describe their own professional profile. In the end, they finish thinking about a pedagogical theme and their relationship with that theme.
Bárcena, F., Larrosa, J., & Mèlich, J. C. (2006). Pensar la educación desde la experiencia. Revista Portuguesa de Pedagogia, (40-1), 233-259. Biesta, G. (2013). Knowledge, judgement and the curriculum: on the past, present and future of the idea of the Practical. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 45(5), 684-696. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2013.798839 Clandinin, D. J. (2013). Engaging in narrative inquiry. Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press, Inc. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1995). Teachers’ professional knowledge landscapes. New York: Teachers College Press. Connelly, F. M. (2013). Joseph Schwab, curriculum, curriculum studies and educational reform. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 45(5), 622-639. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2013.798838 Contreras, J. (2010). Ser y saber en la formación didáctica del profesorado: una visión personal. Revista interuniversitaria de formación del profesorado, (68), 61-82. Contreras, J. (2013). El saber de la experiencia en la formación inicial del profesorado. Revista Interuniversitaria de Formación del Profesorado, 78(27. 3), 125-136. Contreras, J. (Ed.). (2016). Tensiones fructíferas: explorando el saber pedagógico en la formación del profesorado : una mirada desde la experiencia. Barcelona: Octaedro. Magrini, J. M. (2015). Phenomenology and curriculum implementation: discerning a living curriculum through the analysis of Ted Aoki’s situational praxis. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 47(2), 274-299. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2014.1002113 Montoya, M. M. (Ed.). (2007). Saber es un placer: la práctica política de mujeres quebuscan dar sentido libre a la educación. Madrid: Horas y Horas. Schwab, J. J. (2013). The practical: a language for curriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 45(5), 591-621. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2013.809152 Sierra, J. E., & Blanco, N. (2017). El aprendizaje de la escucha en la invesetigación educativa. Qualitative Research in Education, 6(3), 303-326. Van Manen, M. (2003). Investigación educativa y experiencia vivida: ciencia humana para una pedagogía de la acción y la sensibilidad. Barcelona: Idea Books. Van Manen, M. (2015). Pedagogical tact: knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.
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