Writing as a practice of freedom: finding the courage to resist completion

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Hartman, Teri E.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education
In 2011, after a serious health crisis, I took to expressive writing in my personal life as a means to navigate through my existential questions. The relationship I developed with writing from this personal practice became a counter-reality to what I was teaching in my classroom as a high school English teacher of 19 years. As a curriculum and assessment graduate student, this contradiction between lived curriculum and classroom curriculum stirred the impetus behind this research in which I ask, how does my engagement with writing uncover realities about what it means to be a writing teacher? Maxine Greene’s (1967, 1973, 1978, 1988) existential theories of education provide a meaningful lens to examine the philosophical questions I have about writing instruction, writing assessment practices, and what it means to experience and teach writing as an existential project. Her application of such existential concepts of individual choice, freedom, responsibility, and using the “teacher as stranger” (1973) metaphor, are the fulcrum for the analysis of my practitioner inquiry, written as four autoethnographic narratives. These narratives at the heart of my research have critically interrogated my assumptions about writing pedagogy, and armed me with new knowledge on how to practice writing as an act of freedom in my classroom. Through this personal investigation, I hope to encourage other writing teachers in Alberta to examine their own assumptions, and open up their classrooms and writing pedagogy in order to push back against formulas in order to inspire real change.
Education , Writing , Literacy , Curriculum , Secondary education