Living and teaching in rural southern Alberta : connecting curriculum, place, and identity

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Hierath, Sharon A.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education
It is not uncommon to search for one’s ancestral roots, to explore the history of those who came before us. By engaging in this process, we also gain insight into our own identity, our shared histories, and our life stories. The graduate project, Living and Teaching in Rural Southern Alberta: Connecting Curriculum, Place, and Identity, considers how a specific topos (the place) and its terroir (the conditions under which food is grown or produced) are significant factors in exploring one’s identity and examining one’s currere (curriculum). This qualitative narrative inquiry focuses on memory work, in the forms of life writing and original autoethnography. The project is multimodal and consists of a variety of texts—personal stories, poems, sounds, and images. The author constructs a curriculum of place based upon the challenges outlined by Chambers (1999), as well as the research of Hurren and Hasebe-Ludt (2011) regarding the significance of terroir in curriculum studies. Applying Pinar’s (1975) method of currere, the author returns to her past, re/visiting significant places. This provides opportunities for multi-dimensional reflection, both personal and professional, resulting in a deeper understanding of the author’s identity. The author considers the works of various narrative researchers, such as Fowler, Clandinin, and Ellis. The project demonstrates Pinar’s reconceptualization of curriculum and makes the case that narrative inquiry is essentially a “complicated conversation” (2004). This includes autobiographical inquiry, understood as both phenomena and method, which can be useful to students, educators, and curriculum scholars.
narrative inquiry , life writing , curriculum of place , qualitative inquiry , original autoenthnography