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Chapter 7 Beyond Truth

Abstract

This chapter is focused on adult professional learning in healthcare by focusing on an innovative narrative-based training platform for seniors that uses transformative learning theory to better support person-centered healthcare. It is suggested that adopting the theoretical framing of pragmatism can support professionals to move beyond dualistic thinking with respect to medical knowledge and the lived experiences of patients. Adopting a pragmatist perspective in this sense can therefore have practical consequences that supports the over-arching aims of the training, which is to move professionals from categorical to cognizant thinking.

It is suggested that the tenets of pragmatism offer adult learners a highly practical set of concepts that could support interpretive, narrative-based learning and more particularly the likelihood of transformative learning. Considering knowledge in action and for use, dialogue based on a pragmatist approach can facilitate the opportunity for narrative knowledge that broadens the conception of what knowledge itself it. This is reassuring the healthcare practitioner in how connected meaning frames are with many aspects of lived experience, and how complex, drawing on multiple levels of micro, meso and macro. Such a connection between research, theory and practice can facilitate a better ecology of learning in this area.

Open Access
In: Discourses, Dialogue and Diversity in Biographical Research
Chapter 2 Biographical Interviews and the Micro Context of Biographicity
Author:

Abstract

The chapter examines the capacity of the biographical/life history interview for understanding closely heard talk in interaction. The chapter seeks to question how the emergence and sharing of biographical discourse in interview talk may be identified and described; what evidence is found in interview talk of biographical self or ‘biographicity’, a concept derived from , ); what is the relation between language and voice in a biographical narrative, with particular reference to the notions of ‘synthesis’ () and ‘verbalisation’ (). To do this, the author presents experiences related and shared in the micro context of interview interaction and for this purpose, a section of a biographical narrative of a Polish teacher is introduced and discussed. The private history of the teacher Daria is understood as biographised talk, which is structured both temporally and sequentially. Through the changing interaction between Daria and the researcher and through the wider out-of-frame interaction of both with their respective social worlds, it can be seen that strong elements of interdiscursivity and insight into wider ecologies of learning and living enrich the work of meaning-making that learning biographies represent.

Open Access
In: Discourses, Dialogue and Diversity in Biographical Research
Chapter 4 Biographical Research at the Boundary
Author:

Abstract

Death is an intrinsic part of the ecology of life. Yet in Western societies, end-of-life care has to a large degree moved out of the home and into institutions. A pressing question for educational institutions and employing healthcare organizations is how to train for and facilitate quality and resilience among those working at the boundary between life and death. Any such endeavor must rest on knowledge about how encounters with the death of others inform the self-understanding and praxis of end-of-life care professionals.

Applying a biographical narrative approach to the narrative accounts of healthcare workers from palliative care and intensive care units, the chapter undertakes a careful reading of free-associative narratives, in order to elicit the entangled relation between the subject and his or her contexts, past and present. The chapter is thus an empirically based exploration of how the individual’s fear of death (micro), organizational feeling rules (meso), and societal discourse (macro) simultaneously and mutually inform the life and narrative of the end-of-life care professionals.

Open Access
In: Discourses, Dialogue and Diversity in Biographical Research
Chapter 6 Dynamic Ecologies of Person and Place

Abstract

In this chapter I explore the intersectional ecology (both physical and discursive) of dialogic ethnographic research and place. I suggest that agency is not located entirely within individual action, but is generated within an intertwined material/collective relationship within a lived ecology. For my theoretical framework I draw from Bourdieu’s notion of habitus and place, Barad’s theory of posthumanist performativity, and finally my and Norris’s conception of duoethnography. I provide one illustrative example, a duoethnography (more specifically a trioethnography) of place walking around a college campus. Vonzell Agosto, Travis Marn, and Rica Ramirez conducted their trioethnography as they “place walked” around their college campus, encountering a landscape actively imbued with symbolic power. Through conversation and movement, they explored the symbolic codes mediating thought and action within their space. Their study made the invisible, visible and the symbolic, concrete. Furthermore, their study was a meaningful context for their own growth: it facilitated a reflexive change in their stance and engagement on their campus. And finally, I suggest that their study itself became a public pedagogy of resistance.

Open Access
In: Discourses, Dialogue and Diversity in Biographical Research
Conclusion An Evolution of Ideas
Open Access
In: Discourses, Dialogue and Diversity in Biographical Research
Chapter 8 A Key? Conflict, and the Struggle for an Ecology of Dialogue, Learning and Peace among Israeli Jewish and Palestinian Educators

Abstract

This chapter is about the potential for using auto/biographical narrative enquiry in teaching and research to build small ecologies of learning, healing, dialogue and peace across trauma, and profound difference. This as part of an educational project to encourage active citizenship and democratic values in teacher education in Israel, among Palestinian and Jewish educators. Auto/biographical narrative workshops and research were used to chronicle common experiences of trauma, hurt and insecurity within the unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine. Here the other, for many Palestinians, is the Israeli Jewish coloniser over 70 years and more. For Israeli Jews, the other can be perceived as a would-be terrorist, uncivilised and bringing danger to the democratic, metropolitan light of Israel. The darkness of two unresolved traumas hangs over the work – the Holocaust for Jews and Al Nakba for Palestinians. The former is the murder of 6 million Jewish people in Europe during the 2nd World War. The latter, in English, means the Catastrophe: of the 1948 War with the putative state of Israel, and of dispossession and loss. How much can auto/biographical and narrative processes create small ecologies of light, hope and justice? The answer is not easy, but the effort worthwhile, if the alternative is continuing cycles of hatred and violence.

Open Access
In: Discourses, Dialogue and Diversity in Biographical Research
Chapter 3 Narrative Regimes
Author:

Abstract

The wholeness of a narrative can be thought of from different parameters. One of them use to be underestimated or absent in biographical narratives: it is the ecological sphere from which the narrator experiences the “physical world”. Integrating the dimensions of the sensitive life into the practices of self-telling requires a combination of different narrative regimes. The processes of this form of inquiry are the subject of the study proposed in this chapter.

Open Access
In: Discourses, Dialogue and Diversity in Biographical Research
Chapter 13 The PhD and Me
Author:

Abstract

In this chapter, I share the experience of how undertaking feminist auto/biographical research, for a doctoral thesis, has had an impact, not only on my professional identity as an emerging researcher, but most importantly on my personal identity as an academic from working-class origins. It is wrongly assumed that doctoral writing is by and large a lonely enterprise; in reality it is a complex undertaking for both the student and the supervisor(s). Using Axel Honneth’s work on recognition as a framework to analyze my experiences within the academy I show how studying for a PhD, using auto-diegetic narrative, enabled me to enter a third space (, p. 28) to bring about transformation, not only at an intellectual and cognitive level, but at a spiritual and emotional level as well.

Open Access
In: Discourses, Dialogue and Diversity in Biographical Research
Chapter 12 Profession Reimagined
Author:

Abstract

How can an auto/biographical approach be used in a group setting to bring about more holistic and complex ways of knowing for professionals in education?

Originating from a PhD study, the chapter presents my own journey of non/learning about professional knowing and becoming. Ideas of alienation from knowing are contrasted with feminist approaches and psychoanalysis that bring a more relational perspective and celebrate messiness in our learning lives, not least as professionals supporting others to learn.

A relational aesthetic auto/biographical imagination is proposed as the epistemological framework – emerging, recursively, from doing the research – as my personal take on Gregory Bateson’s ecology of mind applied to biographical formative research with adults. I present the story of Federico, a teacher trainer and researcher, in a dialogue with my own, to illuminate the epistemological and affective learning, albeit as a struggle, I gained from the experience.

I invite others to draw on artful languages, and dialogue, to enrich research and education practice with professionals to develop different ways of knowing. I propose that crossing binaries, between conscious and unconscious, body and mind, cognitive and emotional knowledge, self and the world may help adult educators to draw on their whole personality, and flourish.

Open Access
In: Discourses, Dialogue and Diversity in Biographical Research
Chapter 10 Some Reflections on the Meaning, Limits and Challenges of Critical Biographical Research
Author:

Abstract

This chapter offers reflections based on doing critical research using biographical methods for over a decade. It discusses how I formed a identity as a critical researcher within a wider community of research. Drawing on critical theory and critical realism it also outlines a summary of how criticality in research might be understood through a reading of these complementary but distinct traditions. It concludes with some reflections on the limits and value of biographical research in a particular context (an exploration of equality issues and non-traditional student experience in higher education in Ireland).

Open Access
In: Discourses, Dialogue and Diversity in Biographical Research