Stories from school! A narrative inquiry exploring primary teachers' experiences of school-based teacher education
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‘Stories from School!’ is a personal, philosophical, and educational endeavour which applies narrative (Clandinin and Connelly,1990,1994,1995,1996, 2000; Clandinin 2006, 2013, 2020, Speedy, 2001, 2008; Kim 2016; Craig 2011, 2017) and Arts-based inquiry methods (de Mello 2006; Leitch, 2003 2006; Estrella and Forinash 2007; Barone and Eisner 2012; Kim 2016; Leavy 2013, 2015, 2018,;McGarrigle 2018) to explore teachers’ ways of knowing, doing and being (Craig 2018) as they navigate the shifting educational policy landscape in Ireland.(Conway and Murphy 2013, Mooney Simmie et al. 2016, Coolahan 2017; O’Donohue, Hartford and O’Doherty 2017). The core theme is teacher education (TE) and the school as a site for teacher education in an era of globalised educational policy and change which is heavily influenced by neoliberal elitist discourse (Sant 2019) is the setting. Neoliberal ideals and values now underpin the education policy field and teachers are negotiating increased levels of accountability and a culture of performativity (Allias 2012; Ball 2013, 2016; Apple 2013; Mooney Simmie, 2012; Conway and Murphy 2013; Connell 2013). This narrative inquiry interrogates practising teachers’ experiences of the policy shift which took place within the 2008-2018 timeframe. Heavily influenced by the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) (Sahlberg 2007) the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the European Commission, (Grek 2009; O’ Doherty 2014; Coolahan 2017, 2013, 2007; Sellar|and Lingard; 2013; O’Donoghue, Hartford and O’Doherty 2017; Mooney Simmie and Moles 2020) this policy shift has been largely driven by the Department of Education and Skills through the agency of the Teaching Council of Ireland. My extensive professional experience leads me to conclude that neither the voices and/or experience of teachers have been considered in this regard. (Ball 2003, 2013; Biesta 2012, 2013; Biesta et al 2015; Santoro 2017). My story, the narrative of teacher, school leader, policy maker, teacher educator and researcher are the multiple ‘I’s which provide the autobiographical lens through which we discover and know teachers’ stories. This experience and thinking with theory provide the interpretative bricolage (Kim 2016; Denzin and Lincoln 2011) through which the stories have been retold. Asking, “Who is the self that teaches?” (Palmer 2007), I understand that teachers lead “storied lives on storied landscapes” (Clandinin and Connelly 2000). On these landscapes teachers encounter sacred stories and create secret and cover stories which are seated in their ‘Professional knowledge landscapes’ (Clandinin and Connelly 1995). Attempting to “escape the tentacles of the grand narrative of formalistic research” (Clandinin and Connelly 2000), I explore ways of ‘speaking personally, academically’, using creative approaches to compile this final research text. Thinking with theory and using writing as a method of inquiry I engage in ‘a dynamic creative process’ where writing is a method of discovery (Richardson 1994, 2018). Believing that ‘writing is validated as a method of knowing’ (Richardson 1994) and “a well written “story” has the potential to be long remembered” (Leavy 2013), I present the narrative in both poetic form as performance scripts (Pelias 2005; Denzin 2018) and as prose, using creative non-fiction (Leavy 2010; Sinner 2010; Sinner et al., 2018).
Arts based methods