Pelech, Sharon

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 7
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    On butterflies and silences: exploring teachers' and students' experiences in high school biology classrooms
    (University of Calgary, 2019) Pelech, Sharon
    This paper is a hermeneutic inquiry into how students and teachers experience the biology classroom and how they navigate between expectations from external factors leading to classrooms that are focused on memorizing facts and the desire to engage students deeply in the discipline of biology. From data collected from semi-structured interviews with teachers and students, and an open-ended questionnaire, the paper explores the experiences and assumptions about teaching biology that is prevalent in the classroom. The inability of teachers or students to be able to point to memorable experiences within the classroom leads to a discussion of students’ experience of biology as a passive transmission of facts that are often considered irrelevant and boring. The paper explores the teachers’ sense of conflict between wanting to instill a love for biology in their students and their perceived role in preparing students to memorize information for tests and prepare students for post-secondary school.
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    Canadian contexts for exploring transformative student agency through place-conscious pedagogy
    (University of Aberdeen, 2020) Kelly, Darron; Pelech, Sharon
    Findings are presented from two case studies of student agency in relation to place-conscious pedagogy in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador. For the purpose of these studies, student agency is viewed as transformative and encompasses self-determination, successful attainment of personal objectives, and enhanced willingness to address societal issues (Biesta & Tedder, 2007; Goodman & Eren, 2013). Place-conscious pedagogy uses the local community and environment as focal points for teaching and learning (Greenwood, 2013; Gruenewald, 2003; Lescure & Yaman, 2014; Kelly, 2007, 2013, 2014; Pelech & Kelly, 2017; Smith, 2007; Sobel, 2005). The underlying premise for exploring student agency in relation to place-conscious pedagogy is that students who actively participate in understanding and shaping the world around them learn to recognize their potential as agents of personal and social transformation (Kelly & Pelech, in press). Each case study is guided by two interrelated questions: what practices do place-conscious teachers offer students; and how do these teachers understand the relationship of such practices to student agency? Semi-structured interviews with classroom teachers and photographic documentation of teaching practices are used to address these questions. Our research supports ministries of education, school divisions, teacher education programs, and classroom teachers in moving forward with innovative and transformative curriculum redesign (Government of Alberta, 2017; Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2017). This research also contributes to development of more culturally and environmentally aware and engaged youth by recognizing, documenting, and supporting tangible commitments to the educational value of place and local awareness (Webber & Miller, 2016).
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    A pedogogical venturing into the Three Sisters' garden: lessons of attunement and reciprocity in education
    (University of Calgary, 2020) Skuce, Tim; Pelech, Sharon
    This paper explores the connections the authors make between their experiences in the classroom and the powerful work of Robin Wall Kimmerer (2013) in Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants; specifically, her chapter entitled “The Three Sisters.” Through Kimmerer’s work, we interpret our own experiences within the classroom. We also draw upon Hans-Georg Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics in general and his notion of Erfahrung in particular. We were inspired by the author’s insights into how she happened upon a “new teacher” for her students. As a result, this paper explores her work, as it provides an image of what it is to be present among students while honouring the topic’s own being and becoming--staying open to its future possibilities not yet known. The pedagogical turn away from predetermined outcomes to reciprocity, interconnectedness, and relationships is examined in how they help us understand teaching and learning.
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    Walking: a quiet participation in place
    (Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 2021) Markle, Josh; Pelech, Sharon
    We reflect on experiences we have had working, living and walking alongside our students. We interpret these experiences to reveal the silences at play as we walk stories into being together and attune ourselves to the places we both create and inhabit. We ground our exploration of the connection between walking and curriculum in life writing and literary métissage (Hasebe-Ludt et al., 2009). Throughout, we draw inspiration from Abram (1996) to explore the notion of walking as quiet participation, which we characterize as a bodily attunement toward each other and the more-than-human world, and we point to its possibilities for how we work and live alongside one another.
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    "Surrendering to curiosity": impacts of contemplation for resisting rationalized experience in teacher education
    (2017) Pelech, Sharon; Kelly, Darron
    The authors explore what constitutes contemplative space in the context of teacher education and how free space can be created so preservice teachers experience contemplative learning practices amidst the intensified and alienating processes they have often experienced within their own education. Through data collected from student projects and semi-structured interviews, the authors explore a hermeneutic perspective on and analysis of teacher education and how providing opportunities to experience contemplative space helps deepen student understanding of education leading to a further, intersubjective form of thinking. Students described the uniqueness of the experience that was characterized by dialogic opportunities wherein they had occasion to “contemplate together” through inclusive and non-coerced communication. They shared knowledge, experience, perspective, and opinion as participants in a practice aimed at mutual support in the pursuit of insight. Findings show that preservice student teachers recognized the object of contemplation was far less important than the orientation and conditions under which they contemplate. The authors’ findings spur hopefulness that contemplative space in teacher education will better equip subsequent generations of teachers to counter the marginalization inherent in rationalized schooling.