Migrating through Currere : a narrative inquiry into the experience of being a Canadian teacher

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Lewko, Candace P.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Education, 2009
The research questions of this thesis, “Migrating Through Currere: A Narrative Inquiry Into the Experience of Being a Canadian Teacher,” are three-fold: What is the experience of being a Canadian teacher? How do personal and trans/national migration histories influence this experience? How does being a teacher of English-as-a-Second/Additional- Language of adult immigrant and refugee students affect this experience? The aim of this thesis is to better understand how auto/biographical migration stories are connected to a pedagogical life and how this connection influences a teaching praxis. The following quotation sets the teacher in migration: “What is the experience of being…a stranger in a land not one’s own” (Pinar, 1975a, p. 399)? Curriculum reconceptualist theory asks the teacher to engage in processes of self-reflexivity in social, historical, and pedagogical contexts. The experience of being a Canadian teacher is reflected in my family’s and others’ migration stories during the first wave of migration of immigrants to Alberta. Four narratives of my own arose out of self-reflection on topics of identity, culture, home, location, and ethnicity. Each narrative is developed using William F. Pinar’s (1975a) method of currere. The narratives are interspersed throughout the thesis from the regressive to the synthetical moments of currere; they are juxtaposed against autobiographies written by first and second generation Canadians. A review of the literature illuminates the works of educational philosophers such as Maxine Greene and contemporary curriculum scholars including Ted T. Aoki, Dwayne Huebner, Janet L. Miller, Leah Fowler, Erika Hasebe-Ludt, and Cynthia Chambers, in addition to Pinar. The inquiry reveals how a historical return to the self can inform the teacher of the meaning of the teaching experience found in the pedagogical, lived, and historical v circumstances of the self and other. A new awareness of the teaching self emerges in the foreign and familiar of the classroom. Tensions found in dichotomies of language, culture, and ethnicity become generative spaces to reflect on the experience; home becomes a portal through which the teacher views the world with empathy. The teacher lives perceptively in a culturally diverse classroom and amongst the complexities of another’s life circumstances.
ix, 157 leaves ; 29 cm
Teaching -- Vocational guidance -- Canada , Education -- Study and teaching -- Canada , English language -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers , Teachers -- Canada -- Attitudes , Education -- Canada , Dissertations, Academic