Theses Doctoral

“Working Autobiography”— Exploring the (Im)possibilities of (Re)presenting “Curriculum” and Teacher “Narratives”

Gibson, Patricia Mito

Qualitative research around teachers’ interpreted “experiences” has contributed to an increase and legitimization of “voice” and “experience” of those who have traditionally been excluded from research. Narrative inquiry in the form of autobiography has been utilized as one mode of inquiry to represent such teacher stories. However, such research that attempts to “capture” these “experiences” assume “experience” as fact and transparent, thus neglecting to acknowledge the idea that the “self” is constructed and mediated through discourse and power relations. Furthermore, many conceptualizations around “curriculum” focus on curriculum as “course of study” and neglect to recognize the ways in which “experience” intersects with “curriculum” and how this is manifested in daily school contexts. This inquiry explored the intersections of teachers’ interpreted “experiences” and how their understandings of their professional identities, if at all, spill into their understandings of “curriculum” based on conceptualizations of “curriculum” as discourse. Working from feminist poststructural orientations towards discourse, subjectivity and power, this qualitative inquiry took a particular event in Japan as an entry point and explored if and how teacher’s interpreted “experiences” and their understandings of their “selves” shifted, contradicted, and/or collided and, at times, impacted their understandings of the “curriculum.”
Drawing from poststructurally inflected understandings of narrative inquiry, this inquiry explored how specific teachers spoke of their educator “experiences” in relation to their current circumstances of teaching in displacement following a series of natural and man-made disasters, and how they conceptualized “curriculum” in relation to their interpreted “experiences.” Through qualitative data collection and analysis informed by and interrogated by feminist poststructural assumptions, I attempted to trouble how I understood “data” and chose to represent these “data” throughout. Such troublings stemmed from what some qualitative researchers have called the “crisis in representation.” More specifically, through autobiography as one mode of narrative inquiry as self-reflexive practice and processes that I sought to “trouble” from poststructural perspectives, I grappled with the “crisis in representation” throughout this inquiry as I explored and challenged the limits of transparent notions of “experience” and “self.”


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Curriculum and Teaching
Thesis Advisors
Miller, Janet
Yoon, Haeny
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 2, 2018