Teacher Narratives and Narratives of Teaching: Inquiry into Lived Experiences

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "Teacher Education".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2024 | Viewed by 9754

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
First Year College, Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC 3011, Australia
Interests: teaching; learning; mentoring; narrative; experience

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Health and Sport, First Year College, Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC 3021, Australia
Interests: learning and teaching; active learning; neuroscience
Independent Researcher, Christchurch 8041, New Zealand
Interests: narrative methodologies; teacher education; professional teacher inquiry; digital education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

…narratives of educational experience…challenge[s] teachers
to listen to stories and to hear their resonance
in the distant orchestration of academic knowledge.
And it invites all of us, no matter how wide our disillusion,
to notice how existence quickens us with joy surpassing despair.

(Grumet, 1990, 323)

Teachers have the power to transform lives, and their work “invites all of us” to reflect on the positive impact they can have on students and society. Yet, the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS, 2018) recently found that, for a variety of reasons, teachers are leaving the profession, and teacher shortage is one of the most pressing problems faced by many education systems. By focusing on research that specifically explores the use of narrative to understand teachers’ experiences of learning and teaching, the aim of this Special Issue (SI) is to illuminate the vicissitudes of teachers’ professional lives with the intention of sharing and appreciating their experiences. The issue will offer ideas related to the theoretical, methodological and practical matters to be considered when using a narrative in order to explore teacher’s experience. Narrative accounts of teachers’ lived teaching realities will also be included. Submissions are encouraged from early childhood through higher education to celebrate and promote teacher narratives as valid, valuable and insightful sources for educational research and knowledge.

The broad themes identified for this SI include:

Narrative Knowing

  • Narrative conceptualisations of experience.
  • Making meaning of experience.
  • Narrative and stories (such as grand narratives, big/small stories, etc.).

Narrative: Documenting Experience

  • Conversations, interviews, artifacts and more.
  • Ethics and ethical dilemmas.
  • Narratives and context.
  • Transforming narrative accounts of experience.

Narratives: Intersubjective Relationships

  • Relationships with participants.
  • Interdependent relationships.
  • Social and institutional relationships.

Narrative: Learning from experiences of teaching

  • Narratives of teaching (private, personal and professionally lived experience).
  • Becoming a narrative inquirer.

Peer review allows experts to read authors’ work and comment on its quality as well as provide suggestions for improvements. We strongly urge all narrative scholars who contribute to this SI to participate as reviewers; this supports and enriches our collective understanding of narrative. Thus, for this SI, if you submit an article for consideration, we would appreciate it if you would agree to undertake a peer review of another paper submitted for publication.

If you would like to be a reviewer for a manuscript submitted in this special issue, please register here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1fJ_oaPoF-kA04TJxp4r5r-zes1qgWHdnjZceuPJvMuI/edit#gid=0

If your publication is selected for inclusion in this Special Issue, then an opportunity will be available to apply for a funding waiver. Authors should also check with their Library Administrator to determine if your institution has funding available to support Open Access publication.

Dr. Trudy Ambler
Dr. Puspha Sinnayah
Dr. Joanna Lim
Guest Editors

References

Grumet, M. (1990). Retrospective: autobiography and the analysis of educational experience, Cambridge Journal of Education, 20:3, 321–325.

Stevens, W. (1954). The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens. “The Idea of Order at Key West”, pp. 129–130 (New York, Vintage).

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • teachers
  • narratives
  • experience
  • learning
  • teaching

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 39331 KiB  
Article
Photographs of Play: Narratives of Teaching
by Susanne Garvis, Anne Keary and Natalie McCallum
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010100 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 987
Abstract
Research affirms positive results between children’s play and academic success. While play is heavily featured within the early childhood curriculum, limited studies have explored how play is actually implemented within early years settings. The aim of this study was to enhance children’s play [...] Read more.
Research affirms positive results between children’s play and academic success. While play is heavily featured within the early childhood curriculum, limited studies have explored how play is actually implemented within early years settings. The aim of this study was to enhance children’s play and learning by using photographs to explore play-related pedagogical practices of early childhood teachers in Australia over time. Using visual narrative inquiry, three families participated (mother and child) and shared school photos of the mother in an early childhood context and the current child in an early childhood context. The photos were analysed with a visual analysis approach to understand play and teaching across the two time periods. Key findings revealed what has changed and what has become part of the foundation of play in Australian early childhood education. Findings are important to expand the current understanding of play and the historical perspectives of play. Full article
24 pages, 4265 KiB  
Article
Exploring Staff–Student Partnership in Curriculum Design
by Fiona Alison Boyle, Fiona M. Buchanan, Dan Ritchie and Kelum A. A. Gamage
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010061 - 04 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1212
Abstract
Collaboration between staff and students for improved curriculum design is presented as highly beneficial in many contexts. In particular, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is seen as facilitating co-design and collaboration. However, students tend not to be actively involved in curriculum change, especially [...] Read more.
Collaboration between staff and students for improved curriculum design is presented as highly beneficial in many contexts. In particular, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is seen as facilitating co-design and collaboration. However, students tend not to be actively involved in curriculum change, especially in whole programme design or review. Furthermore, few studies consider partnership with students in the context of ESD inclusion, which was the focus for this collaboration. The aim of this study was to explore staff and student perceptions of participating in a collaborative approach to the review and development of the undergraduate law curriculum in a university in the UK. A developmental evaluation using mixed methods was used to study the expectations and experiences of students and staff through a process of curriculum review and change to incorporate ESD. Our findings demonstrate the rewards of a collaborative process incorporating diverse perspectives. However, they also highlight barriers for students and staff, including perceptions of risk associated with student involvement in the process, and we offer reflections on navigating these potential risks. Full article
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18 pages, 313 KiB  
Article
Towards a ‘Community for Practice’—A Narrative Analysis of the Evolution of Higher Education Scholars
by Jennifer Scott, Josephine Pryce, Nicole B. Reinke, Dongmei Li, Mary-Ann Shuker, Rachelle Singleton, Angela Tsai and Ann L. Parkinson
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(12), 1239; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13121239 - 14 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 908
Abstract
In higher education (HE), collaborative activities that revolve around a core idea, practice, or knowledge base, such as learning circles, communities of practice or inquiry, peer observation, and peer-assisted teaching, are known to support professional learning. This paper explores the experiences of eight [...] Read more.
In higher education (HE), collaborative activities that revolve around a core idea, practice, or knowledge base, such as learning circles, communities of practice or inquiry, peer observation, and peer-assisted teaching, are known to support professional learning. This paper explores the experiences of eight HE scholars from Australia and New Zealand, across four years, as they recognized a new means of collaborative professional development that transcends known approaches and extends beyond an immediate focal point. The group originally formed to support the development of HE fellowship applications, but evolved to what they now consider a community for practice (CfP), where the purpose of collaboration has changed to meet the unique learning needs of each member. During their four years of collaboration, meeting discussions were recorded, and individual and community narrative reflections about participation in the group were created. A thematic analysis of these collective data sources revealed the group’s evolution, and the authors draw on their experiences to tell their story with an aim to enhance professional learning in HE. The study highlights that individuals’ distinct and varied needs can be developed and supported through scholarly, collegial engagements such as a CfP, which does not necessarily require an immediate point of practice. Full article
13 pages, 285 KiB  
Article
Teacher Morale and Mental Health at the Conclusion of the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Tim Pressley, David T. Marshall, Savanna M. Love and Natalie M. Neugebauer
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(12), 1222; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13121222 - 08 Dec 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1281
Abstract
As teachers entered the 2021–2022 school year, schools tasked teachers with the challenge of closing the learning loss gap, maintaining the same standards as a typical school year, implementing COVID-19 safety protocols and teaching to grade-level standards. The current study used the theoretical [...] Read more.
As teachers entered the 2021–2022 school year, schools tasked teachers with the challenge of closing the learning loss gap, maintaining the same standards as a typical school year, implementing COVID-19 safety protocols and teaching to grade-level standards. The current study used the theoretical framework of teacher demoralization to explore teachers’ experiences of morale and mental health at the end of the 2021–2022 school year. The participants included 830 PK-12 individual teachers from across the United States who completed an online survey. The data were analysed using Pearson’s correlation and the hierarchical multiple regression model to determine the predictor variables. The results showed significant predictors for both teacher morale and mental health. The implications focus on steps that school leaders can take to support teachers’ morale and mental health. Full article
14 pages, 268 KiB  
Article
A Narrative Exploration of One Teacher’s Storied Experiences of Online Learning during COVID-19
by Joanna Mei Lin Lim
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(12), 1211; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13121211 - 05 Dec 2023
Viewed by 900
Abstract
The hubbub of teaching lives is enriched by the relationships between students, colleagues, parents and the larger schooling community. When these relationships are disharmonious, attending to the dissonance within these relationships may offer insight into teachers’ relational work. This autoethnographic article focuses on [...] Read more.
The hubbub of teaching lives is enriched by the relationships between students, colleagues, parents and the larger schooling community. When these relationships are disharmonious, attending to the dissonance within these relationships may offer insight into teachers’ relational work. This autoethnographic article focuses on one international elementary school teacher’s experience of teaching online in West Africa during COVID-19. Teaching online in a developing country with political and physical instabilities compounded the chaotic experience of living and working during the pandemic. Guided by this research question, “How did online learning impact my relationship with students?”, the author utilized writing as an inquiry approach to make sense of the challenging aspects of her online teaching experiences. By delving into narrated moments, the author engaged in reflexive analysis of storied experiences. This process illuminated the meaning-making steps that she took to appreciate the nuances contained within specific moments that she had with a student and his father. Through storying and re-storying these moments, the author wondered and metaphorically wandered to unearth potential emotions, assumptions and motivations that permeated her experiences. Such an explorative focus on teachers’ subjective meaning-making process augments the wider body of work on online education and, in particular, this study’s inquiry into the complexity of educational relationships through a narrative lens offers insights into the inner workings of teacher emotions and feelings. This paper reveals how teachers may benefit from adopting a reflective and reflexive sense-making approach towards understanding their emotions, feelings, responsibilities and relationships with students and parents, especially during a time of crisis. This article contributes to the ongoing discussions about the complexities of teachers’ relational work and it enriches the extant literature on online education by shedding light on the individualistic ways that teachers cope with the uncertainties of teaching during a time of crisis. Deeping our collective understanding of how teachers cope can help us to provide better support for teachers and students during crises such as COVID-19. Full article
19 pages, 861 KiB  
Article
Finding a Way: What Crisis Reveals about Teachers’ Emotional Wellbeing and Its Importance for Education
by Jean Hopman and Tom Clark
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(11), 1141; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13111141 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 957
Abstract
In crisis, teachers are often positioned as frontline workers serving the community’s needs. The emotional work of teaching is widely recognised, an acknowledgement that teachers mediate emotionally loaded relational dynamics. A fast-growing body of research investigates strategies and interventions to emotionally support children [...] Read more.
In crisis, teachers are often positioned as frontline workers serving the community’s needs. The emotional work of teaching is widely recognised, an acknowledgement that teachers mediate emotionally loaded relational dynamics. A fast-growing body of research investigates strategies and interventions to emotionally support children and young people in times of crisis. Less explored is teachers’ emotional wellbeing during times of crisis. This research aims to better understand teachers’ needs to support their wellbeing in times of crisis. It utilises a narrative approach, threading together thematically analysed Twitter posts from teachers and teacher representative bodies engaged in discussion of their profession across the USA. Our findings show that teachers experienced a range of emotions around the pandemic when their daily work pivoted to accommodate government-mandated responses. Teaching is, of its nature, an emotionally taxing role, and this is heightened in crisis. Our research highlights the importance of teachers finding a way toward self-care that is nested within an institutional culture of collective care. Full article
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17 pages, 295 KiB  
Article
The Role of Relationships in Resilience: Teachers Who Were At-Risk Youth Supporting At-Risk Students
by Laura I. Sigad
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(11), 1118; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13111118 - 08 Nov 2023
Viewed by 931
Abstract
Despite extensive research on resilience, little information exists on the resilience of teachers who faced adversity in childhood and the meanings they attribute to their current work with at-risk students. Thus, this study aimed to address this knowledge gap by examining the narratives [...] Read more.
Despite extensive research on resilience, little information exists on the resilience of teachers who faced adversity in childhood and the meanings they attribute to their current work with at-risk students. Thus, this study aimed to address this knowledge gap by examining the narratives of teachers who were at-risk children. Based on 30 semi-structured life-narrative interviews, the findings revealed the significant meaning that the participants ascribed to positive relationships. Whether such relationships were present or absent in their childhood, these relationships were instrumental in their choice to pursue a career in education. In supporting their students’ resilience and becoming the teachers they wanted as children, they found meaning in their past experiences of risk and coping. The study’s discussion applies the social mirroring theory to analyze how the participants resisted the negative image presented to them by others in their childhood and how a belief of hopeful prospects fortified them and led them to take on transformative justice as their life mission. Supporting at-risk children functioned as a form of healing for the participants, fostering both their students’ and their own resilience. The study findings highlight the importance of accounting for teachers’ childhood experiences as formative narratives that mold their educational work. Full article

Review

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11 pages, 223 KiB  
Review
ZOOMED IN, ZONED OUT: Academic Self-Reports on the Challenges and Benefits of Online Teaching in Higher Education
by Gayathri Rajaraman, Rudi Klein and Puspha Sinnayah
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020133 - 28 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1012
Abstract
Online teaching in higher education has become increasingly prevalent, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. While teaching online offers many benefits, it also presents several challenges. Sharing one’s lived experiences as an educator is essential to improving one’s teaching skills and enhancing [...] Read more.
Online teaching in higher education has become increasingly prevalent, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. While teaching online offers many benefits, it also presents several challenges. Sharing one’s lived experiences as an educator is essential to improving one’s teaching skills and enhancing the learning outcomes for the students. Here, we present our personal and lived experiences as higher education teachers in the VU Block Model® First Year College at Victoria University. In our allied health science subjects, we have identified the key challenges in online teaching, such as technology and infrastructure, student engagement and interaction, adapting learning styles, assessment integrity, digital literacy, social-isolation-related mental health, and workload. The benefits included flexibility, innovative teaching tools, personalised learning and accessibility, and the continuity of teaching and learning despite the pandemic disruption. Overcoming these challenges requires careful planning, effective pedagogy, and ongoing support for both teachers and students. The benefits of online teaching can be maximised when its limitations are acknowledged and addressed appropriately via sharing teacher’s personal narratives as an effective mode of communication. Full article
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