Contemplating the Academy Using Memory-Work as Method
In this chapter, we detail how we adapted the memory-work method to reflect on our academic lives. We wanted to better understand the factors that shaped our trajectories through the academy and our experiences of it as teacher educators and to make our findings accessible to others. We are an international collective of 5 former teacher educators. We followed a 3-phase recursive process - writing memories evoked by prompts in the third person; collectively analysing the written memories and reappraising them through dialogic conversations. We draw on several of our prompts to bring the theory to life in this, the first of two chapters.
“An Organic Vessel With Rippling Effect”
We, three South African teacher educators from research-intensive institutions, have been active in collaborative arts-inspired self-study research for over a decade. We share a commitment to tackling pressing social issues, like HIV and AIDS, within and beyond our local context. This study asked, “What can we learn by mindfully pausing and purposefully co-reflecting on our arts-inspired collaborative self-study contributions?” Our data sources included: a) three selected published articles using arts-inspired methods as a collaborative self-study team; b) rich pictures we individually created in response to our research question; and c) voice notes explaining our drawings. Data analysis started with individually composing tweets, which provided material for poetic interpretation and dialogue. Using a new combination of creative data representation and analysis methods (rich pictures, voice notes, tweets, poetry, and dialogue) enabled us to retrace and re-envision our art-inspired collaborative self-study path. This organic, multilayered process taught us more about ourselves and our intentions as teacher educators and self-study researchers. Overall, this self-study shows how teacher educators can combine various modes to represent and re-envision our professional aspirations in creative material forms. “An Organic Vessel With Rippling Effect” reminds us that we can all be resourceful, adaptable vessels for change.
Imaginary Critical Friends
In this paper, I elaborate an approach to self-study undertaken on one’s own. I strive to foster inner critical friendship to defamiliarize my teaching practice enough to explore what might otherwise remain unseen. In doing so, I imagine myself in dialogue with the ideas of others, following two models for the process. I bring new theories to explore existing data and the conclusions I drew, to ask new questions, and to reposition myself: posthumanism, postcolonialism, and culturally sustaining pedagogy. I offer ruminations on the tensions I experienced, and while only a glimpse, they might provide inspiration for how this practice extends what’s possible for us to see in ourselves. I suggest this alternative to the critical friend approach to self-study, not in critique of the practice, but because I believe collaborators are not always easy to find. Conclusions include discussion of how the presentation of self-study as an act undertaken on one’s own might help prospective practitioners to entertain the idea of taking up this research tradition; how the borders and margins may contain the most insight, and so to embrace different methodologies is to strengthen our collective knowledge; and how postmodern texts are active and polyphonic, thus challenging the notion that sole authorship is indeed research done alone. New insight is available through different theoretical and methodological approaches, and I cast authors as my imaginary friends—our critical friendship provides a means for me to critique and reconstruct my practice.
Me Versus We
In this self-study, we are examining our shared analysis process with data we gathered from preschool classrooms where young children were participating in Big Paper activities. Our self-study focuses on our collaborative approach (Louie et al., 2016) to making meaning through data analysis. Our use of collaboration mirrored the critical friend aspect commonly found in self-study research (Schuck & Russell, 2005), but within this analysis collaboration, we framed the critical nature of the engagement more as a critical collaboration. Examining our process revealed a recursive nature ofour thinking and doing. Part of this process involved conflicts that arose - tensions (Berry, 2007; Martin, 2019) that reflected our different understandings and meaning making. This collaborative colleague stance we used guided us in our thinking about data, putting a brake on one another, enabling us to challenge each other’s premises. It evoked a shared understanding that deepened our appreciation of meaning that emerged from our data.
Responding to Pandemic-Centered Nihilism With Democratic Renewal and Restoration in Teacher Education
We are two tenure-track, but untenured teacher educators in the United States. We teach in the Midwest and Southwest. We have both taught in universities for more than 5 years. During the COVID-19 outbreak in the spring of 2020, school buildings and college campuses all over the county closed to prevent the spread of illness. As we worked through planning, redesigning, and revising courses we considered our teacher educator knowledge and expertise. During the movements between instructional modalities, we read and re-read John Dewey’s (1938) monograph ​"Experience and Education" (EE)​ together to organize our thinking. As we moved through shifting phases of our work, our purposes in reading have evolved with our changing contexts. We realized that going back to go forward again, which was Dewey’s (1938) view of history, does not always mean going very far back after all. We can use what teacher candidates have learned so far about teaching in troubled times to draw them through the rest of their preparation.
Testimonio Pedagogy on the Borderlands in Teacher Education
New Mexico bears a unique history wherein Pueblo, Navajo, and Apache Peoples have, since time immemorial, been stewards of the land and are its intergenerational inheritors. Since 16th century European conquest, histories of Indigenous and Mexican/Mexican American groups have intersected, merged, diverged, and clashed. But while Indigenous and Nuevomexicana/o communities date back millennia and five centuries respectively here, their land, languages, lifeways, histories, and spiritualities have been silenced, invalidated, and targeted for erasure and their children mentally, spiritually, and physically harmed within public schooling. Building a more hopeful, humane pedagogy in the borderlands means recognizing that higher education pedagogy must not only heal the wounds of U.S. schooling; it also must bring us together across difference and distance to foster shared humanity and create learning spaces that are rich, challenging, and lifegiving. Nationally, over 80% of U.S. pre-service/in-service educators are White and monolingual. While the makeup of our teacher education students is much more diverse, the dominant model of teacher preparation is still steeped in Eurocentric epistemologies. We utilize the arts-based self-study methodology of tapestry poetry to more deeply understand the ways in which one student-centered inquiry centering the Latin American narrative genre Testimonio in teacher preparation unearthed our own difficult narratives of schooling at intersections of race, class, gender, language/dialect, and citizenship and ultimately transformed us. Through Testimonios inquiry, we cultivated space wherein future educators were supported to foster their multiple literacies of resilience, resistance, self-love and their creativity to design curriculum around youth literacies, lives, and community wealth.
Reading the Room
Providing high quality content in literacy for in-service teachers is an essential element of student success. This qualitative self-study used third space theory to investigate, in the context of the recent pandemic, the components that inform how literacy content can best be facilitated for in-service teachers. The results of this inquiry concurred with existing understandings of successful teacher literacy education, which indicate teacher educator expertise and content knowledge impact teacher learning. The findings add to existing knowledge by drawing linkages between informal, formative assessment of audio-visual cues, typical of in-person instruction but absent from most virtual instruction, and the teacher educator’s experience of care (Noddings, 2003). Crossing the threshold from in-person to remote instruction made necessary the reenvisioning of informal formative assessment in teacher literacy education, a process which deepened the teacher literacy educator’s experience of care, thereby allowing her to facilitate literacy content during the pandemic.
"Buoys in the Sea"
As the teaching profession becomes increasingly fraught with forces within education and beyond it, teachers in all stages are searching for meaning in seemingly unlikely places. In response to Vanessa Zoltan's "Praying with Jane Eyre", we examined teaching through the lens of sacredness. Through a dialogue guided by Zoltan and fueled by the examination of our own teaching practices, we created our own criteria for what can be sacred and went on to suggest the larger implications of this concept in the field of teacher education.
Exploring Our Knowledge of Narrative S-STEP Methodology Through Collaboration
Developing quality Narrative S-STEP research requires the use of strong strategies and techniques for design, data collection and analysis, and representation of findings. In this study, we sought to uncover our understandings concerning this. We inquired into what knowledge we as Narrative S-STEP scholars held that guided us in conducting such studies. Our data consisted of our revisiting our own studies and those of others and collecting notes of our interaction and dialogue during the process. In examining our work, we sought to identify the questions that guided us in each stage of the research process and the report of it. We reached consensus as we consistently considered what questions guided our development of a project from design through data collection, analysis, and representation of findings. For each of the elements considered (design, data collection, data analysis, and representation of findings), the article provides a definition, an exemplar, and questions to guide researchers. This study can support those engaging in Narrative S-STEP to create stronger research.
Beyond Critical Reflection
In this self-study, we describe an aesthetic turn in our critical reflective practices as teacher educators, which provided an opportunity to move from critique into action. Using a framework based on a set of core questions about our teaching practices and sociopolitical contexts, we found ourselves moving beyond the written form in our reflections, towards one using creative means (painting, fiber arts, and poetry) as a way to make sense of our experiences teaching during a pandemic. In doing so, we discovered a series of foundational themes emerge in our work: creativity, collectivism, care, and critical reflection. These themes in turn altered how we began to examine, design, and instruct our students. Using the model of a critical friend in self-study, this paper provides a two-phase analysis of how these themes were made manifest in a single course assignment. The first phase examines the assignment design, while the second phase analyzes how preservice teachers interacted with these themes in completion of that assignment during a course focused on multicultural education.
Revisiting Collaborative Editorial Initiatives to Learn More About Our Academic Motivations
We are three South African teacher educators who, in collaboration, have edited six collections of methodologically innovative self-reflexive educational research over seven years. For this paper, we asked: “What can we learn about our academic motivations from revisiting our editorials?” and “Why does this matter?” To promote collaborative creativity and collective reflexivity, we used poetry as representation and analysis. Data sources were our six collaboratively written editorials. Retracing the trajectory of our editing projects allowed us to see what looking holistically at the projects could tell us about our motivations as academics and why this could matter for ourselves and others. By composing a series of pantoum, tanka, and lantern poems, we could make new sense of our complex and multifaceted editing experiences. We distilled our responses to our guiding questions using these progressively shorter poetic forms. This self-study illustrated the value of editorial work as an intellectual activity for us over time. We saw how editing impacted our understanding and enacting of academic leadership, identity, and learning. And we appreciated how it allowed us to connect with so many others. Accordingly, we are reenergised to pursue collaborative editing projects. We hope academics interested in their motivations will find our collaborative process an inviting entry point for their own explorations. Also, we hope that our poetic self-study will inspire others to pursue editorial or other scholarly paths that nourish their academic souls.
Critical Friend Intimacy and Individual Transformations
We have been investigating how critical friendships develop and we found that our critical friendship evolved in ways that went beyond what is in the self-study teacher and teacher education practices (S-STEP) foundational research literature. We continue to wonder about the power of critical friendship for supporting individual transformation. This paper is an elaboration about the essence of critical friend intimacy and its complicity in influencing individual transformations by those in the relationship. We examined S-STEP literature to determine how critical friend intimacy is discussed and if others connected it to individual transformations. We found 13 refereed empirical S-STEP reports from the Studying Teacher Education journal about critical friendships for our interpretive qualitative study to address our research question. We found examples of critical friend intimacy within this literature, and we found evidence of others reporting connections between intimate critical friendships and individual transformations. However, the norms of S-STEP reporting disguise these examples and evidence. We share implications of this research and offer opportunities for future research.
Constructing Spaces for Professional Development in an Action Research Course
Teacher education has an important role in preparing teachers for active participation in creating future educational context. We are three teacher educators at the University of Iceland exploring how we can enhance our teaching in an action research course at graduate level. The aim of this research is to strengthen our professionalism to give teacher students opportunities to develop their understanding of action research. The objective is to illuminate how we bring our professional identities together supporting students in developing their emerging identities as action researchers. Data was generated and analyzed by mapping our journeys into teacher education, specifically in teaching action research, highlighting incidents and individuals that impacted our educational beliefs. Data included three-step interviews and material generated within the course. We searched for pedagogic turning points to identify opportunities for enriching our understanding of practice and develop pedagogical discourses. Findings illuminate how our professional identities and beliefs emerged and developed in the process of supporting students negotiating their identities as action researchers. We argue that by sharing our challenges and experimenting, knowing that we are there for each other, we generate new possibilities and perspectives for understanding and being, personally and professionally.
Me, Myself, and I
As self-study scholars, we often engage in crafting narratives to reveal the stories and structures underpinning our practice. Such narratives are crucial for interrogating the self within self-study, and often provide the foundations for our research endeavours. How we might construct these narrative(s) is my focus in this paper. In my doctoral study of my practice as a director of formal theatre productions in a South African university, I employed Scholarly Personal Narrative (SPN) (Nash, 2004) as a technique to investigate the evolution of my educational philosophy and my journey to becoming a director-teacher. In this paper, using my own research as an exemplar (Mishler, 1990), I explore the connections between self-study and SPN in order to interrogate the value and benefit of SPN as a method for self-study. Through a comparative discussion of SPN and self-study, and a close reading of my own SPN, I examine whether, and how, the tenets of SPN lend themselves to self-study purposes. I believe that SPN, which embraces a gazing inward (Ritter & Ergas, 2021) alongside an engagement with context and a recognition of contingency, offers a powerful tool for the interrogation of the ontological self that is central to self-study.
From Tourist Teachers to Place Rooted Educators
This self-study, rooted in New Mexican conceptions of place, explores a continuum from what we describe as “tourist teachers” to “place-rooted teachers.” We define tourist teachers as those who accumulate and appropriate teaching experiences without regard for communities and focus on their own professional and personal goals. This is often done with good intentions, but their short tenure in communities with great needs exacerbates long standing issues. We explore the distinctions between “tourist teachers” and teachers who are authentically rooted to communities and places. We draw on our experiences, as tourist teachers ourselves, and as teacher educators also committed to place rooted practices. We identify two themes regarding the importance of attending to place in more nuanced ways: 1) the transactional nature of tourist teaching; and 2) examples of conditional engagement. Finally, we discuss findings from the analysis of our own teacher education practices, and explore ways to resist the tourist trap.
Who Is the ‘I’ in All of This?
As a methodology, self-study places the self at the centre of the research endeavour; we have to grapple with the self, in order to understand our practice. This is not an easy or comfortable task, asking us to confront our self/selves in ways that are challenging, demanding a high degree of self-reflection. As a result, much self-study research tends to foreground what I would call the 'doing' self, rather than the 'being' self. This paper arises out of a larger self-study project which examined my own collaborative, creative practice. Through methodological meta-analysis of my earlier study, I consider how I 'gazed inward' to grapple with my self/selves in my practice, and the tools I used to do so. In sharing my approach to answering the question of who I am as a creative, collaborative theatre-maker and educator, I offer an exemplar of how I have attempted to site my self at the centre of my research endeavour, allowing me to grapple with both my doing self, and my being self in my work. In particular, I explore the value of exploring the being self within the self-study paradigm.
Making the Familiar Strange Again
This self-study reflects the work of two literacy teacher educators who built off their previous work in examining the effectiveness/quality of critical friendship (CF). The implications from their original study led to the creation of a guide called the Critical Friend Quality Assurance Guide (CFQAG). To contribute more nuance to their understandings of CF, they turned to the literature to see how self-study authors demonstrate commitment to describing and sharing the use of CF as a research tool, especially as many self-study scholars associate CF with the concept of 'trustworthiness'. They asked, "How do S-STEP authors’ transparent descriptions, or lack of, about their use of CF inform our understanding of how to promote more descriptive uses of CF in self-study research?". The theoretical framework was drawn from reflective thinking and social constructivism perspectives. Data sources included: 55 articles from the 2018 - 2021 journal Studying Teacher Education, written dialogue exchanges, and audio-recorded conversation Three themes emerged: 1) reseeking quality, (2) implicit telling, and (3) explicit explanations. The researcher’s intentions were not to define CF quality or dictate what (or how) authors share, or do not share, about their use of CF. Rather, they offer an author’s guide for sharing quality descriptions of the ways CF impacts one’s study in meaningful and thoughtful ways. They still posit the original CFQAG can serve as a tool for overtly sharing and ensuring CF quality, however, their revised version (which now includes an added subtitle, revised questions, potential locations for explanations, and an additional column that explicitly connects the quality/trustworthiness descriptors we identified in the data) seems promising for richer descriptions of CF for the field of self-study scholars.
Pausing to Breathe, but Is It Possible to Pause Whiteness in Teaching and Teacher Education?
This self-study aims to analyze how white educators and liberal institutions played key roles in perpetuating racism and whiteness in the constitution of our teachers’ identities and what movements we had to make to navigate through ruptures and face the discourses and practices that naturalize racial oppression in Brazil. This study explores unique elements from vignettes extracted from autobiographical narratives which relate to the experiences of four physical education teacher-researchers: a black woman, two black men, and one white man. As a theoretical framework, we discuss the concept of whiteness and how it acts in maintaining the racial privileges of whites in the country as well as its implications in teaching and teacher education. The lived experiences of each of us have led to mobilizing work with teacher education in four regions of the country. Our reflection allows us to collaboratively and intersubjectively fight for anti-racist education, navigating different and complex pathways as part of a teacher-researcher knowledge community. Our methodological choices were supported by the collaboration established by Garbett and Thomas (2020) as researchers who recognized themselves as critical friends in carrying out a self-study. The methodological approach takes the form of a collaborative self-study based on the practices of the four authors as teachers and teacher educators. We are concerned with our own well-being when we perceive everyday life and academic life in a racist country, besides the risks involved in anti-racist education and in the defense of social justice. The thematic analysis of our written narratives as primary sources was carried out in two phases. The outcomes from the narratives show the difficulties and opportunities faced by teachers. While the school routine for black teachers was configured as a space of silence, repression, punishment, and resistance, the welcoming, the well-being, and the feeling of belonging to that space only reverberate for the white teacher in the professionals’ actions, notably facilitating his permanence in the school space. The dualism between body and mind for a black teacher is questioned with attempts to mask and colonize thought. We conclude that the anti-racist character of our intervention refers to the constant concern about how our students perceive the subjectivities of teachers and how they critically mirror these teachers. It is in this way that we assume our responsibility to materialize anti-racist education modes.
Questions of Feminist Power
In this self-study, I examine a critical incident where I partnered with a fellow educator committed to social justice in an attempt to dialogue with three students who co-authored a sexist article in our school's newspaper. The planned dialogue was interrupted when the male students called upon a male administrator’s authority to admonish our attempt to discuss their writing that was not for our individual classes. Through a feminist lens, I analyze the problems with our approach and the "threads of power" (Foucault, 1980) embedded in our well-intentioned discussion.
New Understandings of Liminality
This self-study reflects the work of three teacher educators from Sweden and the U.S. who aim to contribute to a widened understanding of how emotions do something in the move from reaction to action in a liminality caused by derisive discourse around teacher education. That is, when teacher educators allow themselves to dwell in their emotions instead of performing emotional labor (Hochschild, 2012), emotions play an important role at the threshold of action. We seek to answer the following research question: How does liminality offer space for us to process our emotions and move towards action as teacher educators? We used concepts of emotions, liminality, and action to frame this study. We used an iterative process to both generate data while also engaging in analysis. Data included written narratives and real-time dialogue. Three themes emerged: ambivalence, community, and transformation. Findings suggest the following narrative, which we don’t share as a linear model, but rather to note chronology. We experienced ambivalence marked by sorrow and loss, caused by the intense emotions experienced from the derisive discourse around teacher education. This ambivalence moved us into a liminal space, opening us to new beginnings, but we found ourselves in need of community. To move forward and act, we needed others (i.e., each other). Now, we sit poised at the threshold of the liminal space as a community, feeling empowered to act as transformers of teacher education.
What Does It Mean to Be a Teacher-Educator?
In institutions of teacher education, the conditions for development of a teacher-educator identity are uncertain (Dinkelman, 2011). Pinnegar et al. (2020) argues that as self-study researchers, our identities are ever emergent – always becoming. This self-study of teaching and teacher education practices examines how I, an early career tenure track teacher-educator, learned to better understand my teacher-educator identity in my COVID-19 impacted first year. Using Gee's (2001) descriptions of contextual identities, I describe how my assumptions about how my identity should develop were challenged by the pandemic response. Using self-study helped me to make sense of my pedagogy of teacher education, and finding an affinity group of critical friends was instrumental in helping me to navigate this challenging time. I encourage new tenure track faculty, mentors, and administrators to consider using self-study practices to help make sense of who we are becoming and why in these challenging times.
Vulnerability, Ontological, and Epistemological Assault
Motivated by the desire to advance dignified representation and social justice in education via children’s literature, the author draws from the rich database of S-STEP studies (Kitchen et al., 2020) in conjunction with powerful critical discourses (Feagin, 2013; St Pierre, 2000), to illustrate how children’s texts are used as part of whiteness as a technology affect (Leonardo & Zembylas, 2016). Such technology is deployed via literary texts used in reading programs of schools in sites of settler colonialism, to ideologically conscript children and youth in maintaining domination and subordination of minorities through the promulgation of white supremacy and its psychosocial consequences. Drawing on the work of Serafini (2010), this study calls for greater pedagogical focus on “visual images and visual systems of meaning” in engagements with children’s texts given the growing importance of images (p. 86) and visual culture in the lives of children. Also, this study signals urgent need for harm repair; democratization, informed participation, inclusion, diversity, transparency, and greater polyvocality on adjudication committees and in prizing and reviewing institutions of children’s literature.
A Course That Explores Indigenous Perspectives of Assessment
This paper explores the authors’ self study into their experiences of developing courses attentive to Indigenous and relational understandings of assessment. Now offered in three different teacher education programs at two institutions, central in the courses has been Dr. Mary Young's teachings of Pimosayta (Learning to Walk Together in a Good Way) (Young, 2005). In the development of this chapter we drew on the work of Pinnegar and Hamilton (2009) and LaBoskey’s (2004) criteria for a self-study of practice. This helped us shape the paper in terms of self study to examine our practices in designing the courses. The findings explore questions such as: : What do we think teachers need to know?; What are Indigenous ways of building knowledge?; and, What are some key principles teachers need (or we think they need) to know as they come alongside Indigenous children/youth? These findings drew our attention to the identity vulnerability of children, youth, adult learners, teachers, and teacher educators in relation with the colonial narratives of assessment that dominate in schools and in teacher education.
A Self-Study of Whiteness and Teaching About Teaching Race in a Social Studies Methods Course
Current tensions between parents, legislators, and school leaders over race-related issues, heightened by social and mass media, are creating problems teachers have never before had to face. Teacher candidates need to be prepared to teach about race, not only because it is important to their students’ and their own personal development, but because unlike their predecessors who typically avoided controversies, today’s teachers cannot. Precipitating this self-study was my admitted aversion to and discomfort with teaching deeply about race in my elementary social studies methods course. Using multiple data sources including class assignments and discussions, my teaching materials, and reflection journals, as well as documentation of numerous conversations with critical friends, I examined how I prepared for, taught, and reflected on race-related topics integrated into my social studies methods class. Embracing my discomfort, witnessing student disinclination and conservatism, and learning from mistakes, I acknowledge that by engaging my students in surface-level explorations of topics like bias and prejudice but avoiding issues like structural racism and the role of Whites in perpetuating racism by inaction, I have not been doing enough and need to continue to work on my efficacy, particularly the specific skills effective teachers use in anti-racist teaching.
Building the Boat, Growing the Tree
The purpose of this retrospective self-study was to investigate why and how my analytic methods in self-study have developed and transformed over time (Dalmau & Guðjónsdóttir, 2017; Tidwell & Edwards, 2020). With a support of a critical friend, I aimed to identify how the development of data analytic methods enhanced my understanding of my professional learning experiences, through these two questions: How did the data analysis methods in my self-study research develop over time? and, How does this development inform the transformation of my practice? My first attempt at analysis (self-study #1) focused solely on the narrative data and coding. My next two self-studies (self-study #2, and #3) were analyzed through metaphor. My fourth self-study used Haiku to analyze the narrative data, examining my teaching of Japanese students. Based on our retrospective analysis, we observed the following: the more experiences I gained professionally, the more complex my data analysis became in making sense of my professional learning, and arts-based methods expanded the boundary of my analyses. Crafting Haiku served as a culturally respectful way to represent my professional learning.
Articulating a Pedagogy of Discussion
Research in mathematics education has focused on the use of discussion to teach mathematics with less attention to teacher educators’ discussion practice in the context of teaching about teaching. However, practices used to discuss mathematical ideas do not necessarily transfer to discussions of pedagogical ideas where sociopedagogical norms may differ from sociomathematical norms. Discussion, a core practice in teaching, focuses on student development of ideas. Calls for research on development of teacher educators’ practices motivated our desire to understand teacher educators’ development of discussion practices. As mathematics teacher educators who focus on the pedagogical preparation of mathematics teachers, we developed a description of our pedagogy of discussion by analyzing our own discussion practices in mathematics methods courses. Within self-study methodology, we used three qualitative analytic methods (analytical dialogues, evidentiary maps, and descriptive coding) to analyze evidence of pedagogy of discussion practice drawn from our experiences and associated artifacts of teaching gathered during fall 2020. Through this study, we developed consciousness of characteristics of whole-class scaffolding which revealed our pedagogy of discussion practice as anticipating and interpreting prospective teachers’ understanding, responding to current understanding, and supporting movement toward independence through layering of activities.
Navigating the Thresholds and Crossing Boundaries Into Academic Leadership
This study examines our (three teacher educators) learning through navigating thresholds and crossing boundaries as academic leaders. When boundaries between different professional roles are crossed, new in-between spaces of practice are created that provide rich personal and professional learning. Akkerman and Bakker (2011) identify four mechanisms for learning in boundary crossings; 'identification', 'coordination', 'reflection' and 'transformation'. This collaborative self-study of teacher education practices (S-STEP) draws on online conversations and reflections with the findings framed through the four mechanisms. First, leadership roles required a different identification or ‘presence and presentation’. Clothing choices were a visible delineation of our former and current roles and how we were becoming more strategic as academic leaders. Second, we sought opportunities for coordination in that we asked people (whom we recognized as effective leaders) for conversations about our professional and personal struggles. Navigating boundaries requires acknowledging the appropriate voice and delivering the appropriate message at meetings and represents a form of transformation. There is a strong alignment between 'reflection' and the S-STEP methodology as both involve learning about one's own and others’ practices. Understanding these aspects does not ensure success but increases the likelihood of positive outcomes. We have come to understand that boundaries are permeable and we can choose to traverse them with greater confidence because we have acquired a growing repertoire of strategies. Collaborative S-STEP has served as a powerful tool to navigate these boundaries.
Interrogating Grading Practices in Mathematics Methods
Calls for interrogation of practice urge educators to consider ways to dismantle traditional assessment systems. Additionally, leaders in teacher preparation research urge investigations that build understanding of knowledge and practices of teacher educators, including knowledge of how teacher educators develop practices such as grading and assessment to support the learning of prospective teachers. As mathematics teacher educators, we responded to these calls by engaging in long-term self-study of grading practices in a mathematics methods course where prospective teachers are encouraged to build autonomy for their own pedagogical growth. Data (including journals, class audio recordings, final evaluation conference transcripts, and the transcript of a whole group interview with 10 PTs focused on grading practices) were drawn from the second term of ungrading along with research documentation. In addition, the authors recorded every research team meeting and kept collaborative meeting notes. We describe how exploring impacts of this revised assessment system presented a threshold opportunity to rethink the use of traditional institutional structures such as grading rubrics. Results of this study reveal that removing one institutional structure produced an unintentional focus on a different structure and point to the need for close consideration of institutional structures that impact the work of teacher educators.
Trials and Tribulations of Transitioning Into Leadership
Self-study research into teacher education leadership is still in its relative infancy (Allison & Ramirez, 2020). Much of this research has been conducted at the higher levels of administration, which include the deanship (e.g., Clift et al., 2015), with some scholarship on low-level administration, (e.g., Allison & Ramirez, 2016; Haniford et al., 2021; Kitchen, 2016). In this self-study, the authors - a college dean and a program administrator - sought to understand what shared experiences exist among TE administrators, the challenges/possibilities of enacting our administrative roles and responsibilities, and how reciprocal mentoring would assist in the learning of teacher education leadership. We used Berry's (2004) tensions of teaching teachers to understand the tensions of serving in teacher education leadership. In this paper, we focus on the tensions of action and intent and planning and being responsive.
Voices in Debriefing Mathematics Methods Teaching
Mathematics teacher educators (MTEs) use of knowledge in teaching has been described categorically, yet scholars using self-study in mathematics education have called for additional study of use of knowledge in practice. We focused on MTE debriefing with preservice teachers (PTs) following early field teaching. Using self-study methodology and D’Ambrosio’s voices construct we analyzed transcripts of MTEs’ debriefing with PTs. Findings include three ways the MTE used voice of mathematics teacher education as a discipline in debriefing: bridging, exploring, and telling. Findings underscore how teacher educators use knowledge in the moment of teaching about teaching and how teacher educators struggle to maintain an interpretive stance.
Learning How to Be a Better Teacher Educator Online
The aim of the self-study was to investigate the first author’s practice as an online teacher educator, focusing on how to become a better teacher educator online. Looking through the eyes of the student teachers and with input from Tom as critical friend, Maria set out to understand her online teaching practices and to identify ways to improve her practices. Her main concerns were student motivation and participation and the quality of pedagogical interaction in an online course. Overall, this self-study highlights the key importance of pedagogical voice and productive learning as well as the value of focusing on new strategies for maintaining in-person features in an online learning environment.
Parallel Performance
In faculties of education, teacher and teacher educator identities are socially constructed in parallel as individuals simultaneously develop and perform the roles of teacher and teacher-educator in complex play-within-a-play structures. After engaging in a program renewal process for an integrated B.A./B.Ed. program, designing and team teaching two first-year courses in the program, and engaging in a self-study using 25 weekly recorded conversations, a student focus group conversation, and artifacts collected from teaching and students, the authors of this chapter describe three themes that emerged in relation to teacher/teacher educator identity construction. These themes, framed as theatre metaphors, include 'knowing the setting/characters,' 'scripting and performing,' and 'pulling back the curtain.' Together, they describe and shed light on the nature of teacher/teacher educator identity formation, the complexity of engaging in teacher educator identity formation after moving from the classroom to academe, and the promise of team teaching as a powerful tool for growth.
Teaching As Orchestration
In this chapter we use the metaphor of orchestration to explore the dynamic nature of teaching. While we focus specifically on our experiences of emergency remote teaching (ERT), such moments offered an opportunity to experience online teaching, assess its pedagogical value and associated issues more generally. Sources of data were generated via personal journals, group meetings and digital communications (e.g., email, messenger). Among the themes that emerged from our analysis was the need to acknowledge that we were creating lessons within a highly uncertain, changing and ambiguous environment. We settled on the metaphor of orchestration as a good way of capturing how we were organising our teaching and trying to provide stability within an inherently dynamic context. In our discussion of the outcomes, we focus on three themes. Firstly, we felt constrained by the limitations in the online environment which often forced us into transmission styles of teaching. Secondly, the lack of visibility and presence of our students in an online mode often left us unable to manage and adjust the learning activity of the lesson. Thirdly, the plethora of online tools available to us necessitated both the time to learn, and a design sensibility in order to be effective.
Uncovering Care in My Pedagogy and Collaborative Self-Study
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I embarked on collaborative self-study with a colleague as a critical friend. Together we scrutinised my pedagogy in a pre-service teacher course during the rapid transition to online education. Inquiry revealed the centrality of care in all dimensions of my teaching: course design, content, and relationships. This chapter looks behind the scenes of that study, focusing on the contribution of our dialogical collaboration. Journal entries and emails demonstrate how care, prominent in my teaching, permeated ongoing conversations with my critical friend. That respectful, nourishing research partnership and my pedagogy of care were mutually supportive, both requiring honesty and involving vulnerability. Our dialogue enabled me to grow, enhancing the learning experience I gave my students during a traumatic period. Empowering self-study led to immediate changes in my practice and helped me overcome challenges like stress, loneliness and self-doubt during the pandemic. Similarly, growing awareness of my relational pedagogy enabled me to appreciate and maximise the benefit of our research partnership. I recommend that educators providing care for students consider engaging in collaborative self-study. These reciprocal relational processes, aiming for transformation and continual development, can nurture each other and be particularly powerful in times of crisis or change.
“It is a bit like cooperating as teachers”
This study investigates the relation between supervisors’ intentions and their practice when supervising Norwegian teacher students in groups on their master projects and writing of theses. This supervision involves forming groups of students writing individual theses, which allow discussions to take place both between peers and between teachers and students. These groups act as professional communities of practice, where students mutually engage in developing their theses. The question being explored is: Can group supervision of master’s thesis writing prepare teacher students for their future participation in professional learning communities of teachers? Data is gathered from two student groups via a focus group interview. The interviews were analysed thematically. This study emerges from a group of teachers within the field of primary education, acting as mentors for the students. The mentors also form a professional community of practice, aiming to develop and professionalize the practice of supervising. Thus, the project falls into the design of Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices (S-STEP). Results and discussion show how features by the supervision develop student skills, such as daring to raise your voice, presenting interpretations, handling supervising, discussing matter rather than person, argue based on theory and handle tensions. These are all skills useful in teacher teams, but the transferability wasn’t visible for the students before brought to their attention by the mentors. The article concludes by presenting three meaningful alternatives to the existing practice. This insight is taken back to the community of mentors to improve the supervision practice, so this can both scaffold students master projects, and strengthen their confidence, enabling them to enter communities of practice as new teachers and contribute to development.
Reflecting on Supervision During Emergency Remote Teaching
Our self-study explores the developing pedagogies of a novice field supervisor and a novice professional development school coordinator as we worked together to support TCs completing their student teaching internships during emergency remote teaching (ERT) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We draw on Cuenca’s (2010b) notion of university supervisors as teacher pedagogues, rather than evaluators or administrators. Our findings show that increased communication between PDS coordinator and supervisor resulted in greater transparency of each others’ pedagogy, which facilitated deeper pedagogical reflection and creative problem-solving about how to support teacher candidates during ERT. Other findings include the benefit of written feedback for teacher candidate development and the importance of responsiveness to the emotional as well as pedagogical needs of teacher candidates. We believe that our practices during ERT can inform the development of structures and supports that improve the practices and pedagogies of PDS coordinators and supervisors in general.
Building and Modeling Warm Demander Teaching Identities
This collaborative self-study interrogates two mid-career teacher educators’ abilities to enact “warm demander” teacher identities with students in their licensure coursework. Each of the authors teaches in different types of programs in different locations within the U.S. Building on lessons learned through virtual instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic, they seek to study the gaps between their espoused teaching identities and their practices. Using surveys, teaching journals, and dialogue based on critical friendship and collaboration, they describe what they learned from explicitly studying their pedagogical relationships with students. Their findings reveal an insight into the ways that being a warm demander is a necessary part of teacher education, particularly in schools that have a diverse student population.
Perspectives on Trauma-Informed Practice During Pandemic Zoom Teaching
Many educator preparation programs are expected to instruct preservice educators in trauma-informed (TI) pedagogy, even though professors themselves may not have the background to help preservice educators become proficient in these approaches. Teaching Zoom classes during the pandemic created multiple opportunities to experience and analyze teaching from a TI framework. These unfamiliar instructional delivery modes were emotionally challenging, causing faculty to face their own difficulties while simultaneously holding space for student challenges. In this co/autoethnographic self-study, we (two experienced teacher education professors) aimed to understand the ways faculty and students were triggered during Zoom teaching by unpacking classroom critical incidents and connecting them to the TI literature. We investigate the following questions through narrative critical incident analyses: 1) what did we learn, from a trauma-informed perspective, about our attempts to translate our authentic teaching identities to the online platform and the ensuing student responses, and  2) how did reflections on classroom critical incidents help us better understand trauma-informed practice? The overarching finding is that we developed an “insider perspective” on trauma-informed pedagogy (TIP) and how to implement aspects of TIP, especially the cultivation of emotional safety and trustworthiness. By “insider perspective,” we mean that we developed an embodied, empirical, practical understanding of some key aspects of TIP “from the inside out” because we lived these concepts experientially while also studying about them through literature and classes. The findings from this study have implications for educators at all levels as they engage in various delivery modes with diverse student populations.
Navigating Leadership With an Eye Toward Equity
As an associate dean, I strive to lead in ways that reflect my values for diversity, equity, and inclusion. In this self-study, I sought to learn about and improve my own practice as well as capture the lived experience of leading with these values. Through analysis of the generated data, I describe it as an experience in many – many steps, many efforts, many priorities, many tensions. After explaining this, I provide a focused excerpt that illustrates the nuanced complexity in the act of deciding to send an email. These two items provide windows into the everyday, lived experience of an associate dean trying to lead with an eye towards equity. I found that the focus of the self-study helped me stay attuned to matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion across the many facets of my responsibilities. I posit that the focus and structure of engaging in a self-study can help an academic dean learn from their experience, refine their reflective practice, gain knowledge of themself as a leader, and develop skills as a leader, areas that Gmelch, Hopkins, and Damico (2011) argue need to be well-developed to become a strong academic leader.
Listening Pedagogies
This study demonstrates findings from a year-long investigation of pedagogies of listening in an urban teacher education program in the Southwest of the United States. Instigated by a provocation during pandemic on-line teaching, this study’s goals were to instigate and improve pedagogy to privilege student voice and enhance instructor listening. Findings demonstrate how one invites students to tell, listens to what is said, and acts upon these hearings. The data is told through description of pedagogies student and teacher impressions during and after the study.
Discovering the Value of Ticket Out of Class as Critical Reflection and Formative Assessment
Teacher education is both complex and multi-layered and it is important that teacher educators go beyond technical models of pedagogy and open a learning space for student teachers to critically reflect and question actions in practice. We are two teacher educators at the University of Iceland who have collaborated for a decade on self-study and teaching, pausing regularly and critically reflecting on our practice, identifying pedagogic turning points and learning opportunities in our practice. The purpose of this paper is to show how student formative reflection through TOCs influences our teaching and their learning. The study is a critical collaborative self-study and is a part of our ongoing professional development. We build on data collection and analysis for ten years. The other participants were our co-teachers and students participating in a course on inclusive education and collaborative group supervision of master projects’ from 2011 to 2021. Our findings show that using TOCs constructively helped to create a space for student resources and formative assessment. It provided learning moments for us and students as we constructed a discursive space for constantly listening and responding to students’ requests. The findings point to the importance of creating responsive learning spaces for students and of analyzing learning through critical reflection and formative assessment.
In Pursuit of Quality Teaching and Learning
This self-study focused on the teaching and student learning within a compulsory teacher education course about connecting learning in practicum experiences with on-campus experiences. With the help of a critical friend with significant experience in teacher education, Ian aimed to explore the essential features of quality teaching and learning in a pre-service teacher education course. Guided by three of Willingham’s cognitive principles, as well as Schommer’s work on epistemological beliefs, Tom helped Ian with analyzing his experiences in planning and debriefing classes, examining students’ assignments and feedback, as well as events within each class. Themes emerged from this analysis that were focused on how the class was used and by whom, as well as the exercises of analyzing one’s own teaching practices and beliefs about teaching and learning. Changes to Ian’s teaching as a result of the self study are discussed, and focus on how time is used within teacher education classes, and how we make decisions about what topics we discuss, and how we engage in learning.
Pedagogy in Progress
The purpose of self-study research is not merely to reflect on one’s own practice but to make this experience public. This self-study aims to add to the understanding of becoming a teacher educator. The purpose was to identify and examine my personal pedagogy of teacher education. I began this study in the Fall of 2019 when I started my first job as an assistant professor of teacher education. The focus of the study was first, to identify my teaching pedagogy and second, to determine how effective I was at enacting this pedagogy. The study was conducted in graduate and undergraduate courses spanning six semesters at a mid-size university in the Midwestern United States. The study was informed by the work of John Dewey and Nel Noddings, specifically in terms of defining good teaching. Data collection included a self-study journal, course syllabi, lesson plans, teaching slides, student emails, and term teaching evaluations. Analysis of critical incidents contained in the journal, email communications with students, and other data sources showed me that my personal pedagogy of teacher education was rooted in a specific understanding of content, communication, and caring. With the help of a critical friend, I identified instances where I both struggled with and effectively implemented this pedagogy. Struggles were primarily due to unforeseen events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the politicization of school curricula. Effectiveness was demonstrated through conversations with students and acknowledged growth over time. The data from this study will provide avenues for future self-study work.
Threshold Inertia
Abstract As a Ph.D. candidate and graduate teaching assistant in the final year of my program, I had to reevaluate my teaching practice and discern how I had become a helicopter teacher/ instructor. I had to lean into my community of practice and I had to re-evaluate and objectively examine my teaching practice and pedagogies enacted. I had to adjust my course to meet the unique needs of students educated during COVID. In the process, my resiliency, my self-efficacy, and my identity as both a teacher educator and academic were challenged, realigned, and then redefined by my shift in identity from a secondary educator into a postsecondary educator and scholar.
Pedagogical Care
In this paper, an ELA teacher educator turns to self-study to explore how the pandemic has repositioned her teaching – both what she does and how she does it – and how that repositioning has reframed understandings and expectations of both students and self. Two research questions guide the study: 1) In what ways has my pedagogy changed in the ELA middle grades methods class through navigating the COVID-19 pandemic? 2) How have these changes reframed my pedagogical understandings and expectations? The self-study uses the lens of pedagogical care to engage with these questions, revealing that altered approaches to attendance, course feedback, and instructional questioning reflect both relational care (e.g., Noddings, 2012) and relational teacher education (e.g., Kitchen, 2005).
Implementing Standards-Based Grading in the University Classroom
Standards-Based Grading (SBG) is the practice of assigning and reporting grades “…based on student achievement by standard rather than… traditional letter grades (Westerberg, 2016, p.5). Unlike traditional grading practice – typically collecting grades for assignments measuring multiple (sometimes non-academic) criteria – SBG advocates chronicling only students’ mastery of key standards. As a teacher-educator, I endorse SBG in K-12 education because of its potential to promote equity in grading practices (Munoz & Guskey, 2015). Unlike most of my pedagogy, however, I do not fully implement SBG – or practice what I preach - in my own assessment courses. A feeling of hypocrisy over this disconnect weighs on me as the schools with whom I partner ask for my help implementing SBG. In an effort to quell that unease, I embarked on this self-study to implement SBG in my assessment course with the goal of discovering if I truly believed in its merits enough to recommend it for both university and K-12 settings. My findings indicate that I do find it worthwhile and I do recommend if for both settings; however, I recommend caution in implementation as it is a high-order change that brings with it disruption to norms and practices for both instructor and students.
Ungrading as Turning Point in “Forever on the Way” to Becoming Critical Educators
This paper shares insights from a collaborative self-study of the authors’ experiences implementing ungrading in our teacher education courses. Addressing the conference theme, we inquire into how ungrading represents a pedagogic turning point as we continue becoming our best-loved selves as teacher educators, recognizing that we are “forever on the way” in evolving towards these ideals. We focus analysis on how we understood ungrading in the context of our philosophies as critical educators and how our experiences with ungrading informed both our practices as teacher educators, as well as our perspectives on our teacher educator identities. We gained insight into how ungrading aligned with broader values and purposes central to our identities as critical teacher educators, how and why we made changes to improve our practices over time, and how implementing ungrading enabled us to sustain images of our best-loved selves as teacher educators. We found that ungrading enabled us to sustain aspects of our teacher identities and practices that we most valued as we worked to build relationships with students and support them in growing their knowledge, skills, and understandings in ways that aligned with both course outcomes and their own goals for who they want to become as educators. In systems that too often focus on standardization to the detriment of diversity and inclusion, there is continued need for research that offers practical insights into implementing responsive approaches. This study seeks to share what we have learned about ungrading for those seeking more responsive approaches to evaluating learning.
“Listen before you push”
This self-study of a dean’s first year of leadership in a faculty of education in Chile was conducted in conversation with a critical friend in Canada. The central questions for the study are (1) What are the primary differences between the first and second time as Dean of Education at the same university?, (2) How can the Dean support and encourage practicum leaders to develop strategies for improving the quality of students' practicum experiences?, and (3) How does critical friendship contribute to the process of identifying assumptions, reframing actions, and evaluating their impact? Themes in the data include how Rodrigo has changed strategies in his third appointment as a dean, how he is supporting improvements in the quality of students’ practicum placements, and how critical friendship contributed to the self-study. The authors conclude that “listen before you push” was a productive strategy. Outcomes are presented in terms of what Rodrigo learned about leadership and what both authors learned about critical friendship.
Rural Experience and Its Impact on the Identities and Practice(s) of Teachers/Teacher Educators
Rural experience and ways of knowing impact the identities and practice(s) of teachers, teacher candidates, and teacher educators in profound and complex ways. Through self-study, the examination of artifacts from my past (including a Master’s thesis, a Doctoral thesis, and a self-created video and script on the topic of my own rural identity), and recorded conversations with five teacher/teacher educator colleagues with whom I shared a rural kinship, I explored the impacts of rural experience on identity formation and practice. Findings from the study suggested: (1) that rural experience has a profound impact on professional identity, (2) that teachers/teacher educators who have had such rural experience(s) have a kinship rooted in similar or common knowledge, values, skills, and beliefs, and (3) that rural experience and identity foster a profound commitment to, and advocacy for rural places; relationship and connection to place and others; place-conscious, experiential approaches to teaching and learning; and a commitment to leadership and service in practice. These findings extend existing literature about teacher/teacher educator identity formation, and suggest that self-study is a meaningful methodology for examining complex, contextually specific, socially constructed phenomena such as 'rural capital'.
Traditional grading practices have come under critique recently because they are inequitable and often contradict the pedagogical goals of practitioners, especially teacher educators. This self-study examines the collaborative process of three higher education instructors assessing and grading differently. We each employed different ungrading strategies in our courses, and met biweekly to discuss our approaches, experiences, and challenges. Recordings of these meetings, alongside regular emails and reflective journals, were analyzed through the lens of vulnerability, exploring the ways we were made and made ourselves vulnerable as we engaged in pedagogically risky activities. Our findings demonstrate the value of collaborative sense-making and relational support for instructors who are implementing more equitable and humanizing grading practices in their courses.
Something Happened
Although measuring religious knowledge can be fairly straightforward, assessing whether students are having religious experiences can be more difficult. The purpose of this self-study is to develop a clearer understanding of the interactions that enable my students’ religious experiences and support me in recognizing when such experiences are occurring. The data from this study were reflections I created of my experiences with students which led to them having deeper religious experiences. I wrote ten narratives that captured my understanding of what occurred. Next, I interviewed those students taking notes on their responses to the narratives. In analyzing these two sets of data, I used the Listening Guide (Gilligan et al., 2006) to analyze the narratives. In the analysis I sought to verify that I had recognized their experience and uncover how I recognized this occurring. and find whether and in what ways I was able to tell when a student was having religious experiences in my classroom. The Student responses indicated that for some the plotline for the event was just regular attendance and participation to the experience from our interaction involved then engaging in extensive outside seeking and preparation. While the plotlines were diverse, I did uncover common elements which included taking time to know students and attending to my intuitions about their needs. Implications of the present study are explored for both religious educators and teachers in other content areas who might be interested in helping students move beyond content knowledge toward meaningful engagement with a discipline.
Enacting a Relational Approach As an Editor
Professors assume many roles. Although leadership involves new skill sets and relationships, little is done to prepare us for these important roles. Since Manke identified topical threads in teacher educator administrators’ self-studies of practice, there have been a growing number of such studies. Less common are studies of informal leaders in the academic community. Editing, notably, has received little attention in self-study discourse or more widely. As editors help create knowledge, this self-study by the editor of journals contributes to better understanding and supporting the role. The first objective is to examine ways in which the author as editor has lived out a conception of teacher education as relational. The second is to identify opportunities for extending self-studies of leadership to include the editor role.
Missed Connections
This narrative self-study addresses the impact of community on stakeholders in a teacher education program at a public university in the United States, with particular focus on student-teachers completing their final practicum. The authors began a critical friendship in 2020 with conversations quickly focusing on the importance of community in teacher education practice. During 2021-2022, both authors were responsible for supporting student-teachers completing practicum and a teaching licensure assessment. Data included personal narratives of community educational experience, collective narrative, notes, journal entries, and surveys. Through the lenses of care theory (Noddings, 2003) and community of practice theory (Lave & Wenger, 1991), findings suggest that during practicum, pre-established relationships were especially helpful to student-teachers. Narratives were used to understand how researchers learned, modeled, and instructed teacher candidates in professional community-building. Through a critical examination of the authors’ past and present experiences of professional community, alongside student-teachers’ practicum experiences, we suggest teacher educators and supervisors must invest time and care in cultivating professional relationships to better support the success of student-teachers consistently throughout teacher education programming. Accordingly, we see a need for empirical research that examines current and historic trends in teacher-education programs’ collective experience of community and faculty skills in implementing community-building.
Collaboratively Cultivating Critical Racial Literacy Practices for Teacher Education
Engaged in the fifth year of an ongoing self-study community of practice (SSCoP), we recognize schools and curriculum as contexts that produce and maintain racism. As a group of eight white, female teacher educators from different institutions across the United States, we share a common goal of dismantling the structures that operationalize anti-blackness and anti-Black racism by foregrounding racial literacy in teacher education. In this multi-site case study, we used 'critical racial literacy' as an analytic framework and the 'Archeology of Self' as an action-oriented process to examine critical incidents from our monthly discussions of shared readings and journals. We found we needed critical love and humility to reflect and interrupt racism. We noticed we did not engage in exploration of our own beliefs and biases, instead we explored incidents of institutional and systemic racism. We recognize we need to examine ourselves in these contexts and systems. In sharing this study, we seek to call others into mobilizing critical racial literacy and the Archeology of Self, perhaps through SSCoPs, to interrogate and (re)imagine teacher education to work towards antiracism. In doing so, we advocate a global and united movement for more equitable education systems.
Examining the Value of Integrated Arts in Teacher Education From a Collaborative Cross-Border Cross-Institutional S-STEP Perspective
In light of the increased focus on curriculum interdisciplinarity, this collaborative cross-border and cross-institutional research investigates and evaluates the opportunities of integrated arts (cross-curricular learning within the arts alone) in preservice teacher education. Specifically, this self-study in teacher education practices examines integrated arts practice and programme components in two higher education institutes in terms of illuminating the possibilities and pitfalls of these practices. Key methods entailed thematic analysis of transcribed online meetings and related course materials using Gibbs Reflective cycle and Brookfield’s four lenses of critical reflection. Findings culminated in four key themes from two self-study cases. Two emergent themes concern the value of IA and best methods. Another theme emerged describing and reconciling the conceptual, pedagogical and relational challenges encountered. A further impactful theme illuminated how integrated arts lent itself to reflection on, and development of, one’s arts teacher education practice, permitting conceptual, theoretical and methodological reciprocity between the discrete arts disciplines. Subsequently, this yielded skills exchange and innovative co-planning opportunities that altered our perspectives and practices for the betterment of our students.
Liberating Our Anti-Racist Selves
We undertook this self-study after we began leading an anti-racism project awarded to the Teacher Education Program through the University of Victoria’s anti-racism grant. The purpose of the grant was to support instructors and teacher candidates to embed equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) practices more intentionally and skilfully into their practice. We determined that engaging in a self-study would help us identify our individual and collective motivations for anti-racism work, unpack our contexts, and develop a relationship of trust as we engaged in the project. Through an exchange of letters and conversations, we were able to learn more about ourselves, each other, and the intersections and differences of our particular contexts. The self-study allowed us to move from courteous colleagues to committed partners, with a deeper understanding of our motivations, curiosities, hesitancies and tensions as we engaged in anti-racism education.
Looking Back to Move Forward
Researchers engaging in self-study “are committed to their ongoing professional learning and explore their assumptions, beliefs and actions as they are enacted in practice” (Casey et al., 2018, p.56). Maura, Richard and Tony are primary physical education teacher educators working with generalist pre-service teachers (PSTs) in three different universities in Ireland. We previously undertook a collaborative self-study project to explore our pedagogical approaches in introducing the Meaningful Physical Education (MPE) framework to our students. Following the completion of this study, we sought to evaluate our own professional learning outcomes and use self-study to consider future directions for our practice. We decided to focus this inquiry on our interactions within a ‘social learning space’ (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner, 2020, p. 13). The Value Creation Framework (VCF), currently presented as eight value-creation cycles (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner, 2020), was used as a lens to analyse our reflections and discussions. Three themes were generated: developing identities as teacher educators, the influence of collaboration on individual practices within physical education, and professional learning beyond the specific subject area. Exploring our experiences through the Value Creation Framework (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner, 2020) provided us with opportunities for personal and professional learning and enabled us to model reflective practice.
“We Are Going to Need a Bigger Bottle”
Current circumstances and shaping forces (e.g., COVID-19, shifting professional and personal lives and responsibilities) produced in our self study collective of four members a need to pause and re-consider the contours and established commitments of our group, what our past contributions have been, individually and collectively, and the potential and possibility of future contributions to a variety of audiences. After meeting only in digital spaces for 18 months, we intentionally spent embodied time together on the California coast to renegotiate our collaboration and make sense of our current situation. While there, we recorded conversations and started journals. We also engaged in our usual activity of exploring. traveling, and experiencing together. Upon return to our respective homes, we continued to journal and meet regularly by Zoom. These recordings, journals, and transcripts became our data sources. We employed the Listening Guide (Gilligan, 1982) and critical complexity perspectives to examine the data. Emerging themes included the surprising depth of our relational knowledges, how that depth guided our intra-actions, and how we use those knowledges to navigate neoliberal systems. We also discovered the need to attend to elements beyond language-to the material affective elements within complex assemblages to more fully account for and articulate the power dynamics within the group.
Dancing With Others
Critical friendship is one of the key tenets of validity in self-study research. In this paper, we expand our understanding of critical friendship by exploring the intersection between collaboration, critical friendship, and our disciplinary expertise in creative processes. In the methodological discussion presented here, we map the links between our own understanding and experience of critical friendship, and the eleven criteria for creative collaboration developed in Tanya van der Walt’s earlier study (2018), exploring how creative collaboration and critical friendship overlap and intersect. We discuss critical friendship and creative collaboration comparatively, mapping the parallels, convergences, and points of overlap between them. By looking at our own critical friendship through the lens of creative collaboration, we articulate a space where criticality, friendship, and creativity intersect to drive the development of new meanings, drawing attention to the generative and catalysing power of critical friendship within self-study research. In so doing we are able to (re)imagine critical friendship as creative collaboration, a relationship that we term critical creative collaborative friendship.
Three Thresholds in a Single Crossing
A multi-faceted, university-based team emerged from a year-long project having discovered much about their professional selves in the midst of accomplishing a shared goal of preparing pre-service teachers for a newly mandated certification exam. Their team, composed of an Assistant Professor of Early Literacy, an Associate Professor of Literacy and Curriculum and Instruction, and the Associate Dean for the College of Public Service, demonstrated a uniquely componential yet collaborative response that resulted in noteworthy success, despite the limitations of a worldwide pandemic. An iterative five-step model developed from their work, and they found that the five steps of needs assessment, team formation, ongoing coaching, codifying processes, and frequent celebrations were both complicated and enriched by persistent tensions in the areas of teaching, systems, and communications. These strategies guided their approach to renewed curriculum development, innovative instructional delivery, and improved assessment readiness. Through the nexus of their individual and collaborative identities, they embraced new ways of leading and producing content for internal and external stakeholders.
Taking Stock
This paper explores how two teacher educators and volunteer sports coaches in an Irish university engaged in collaborative self-study to examine our learning over the course of six years. Using the landscapes of practice theoretical framework (Wenger-Trayner et al., 2015), we detail how participation in a number of self-studies, together and with other colleagues, has provided us with many learning opportunities over this time. Our data generation and analysis followed the processes of a meta self-study (Hamilton, 2020). We reviewed our whole dataset of reflection journals, critical friend engagements and publications, and identified key landmarks within our learning landscape. In this paper, we discuss three significant landmarks that represent our learning experiences as coaches and teacher educators on a longitudinal collaborative self-study journey. This collaboration enabled us to make connections within, and between, these different activities. Rich learning opportunities were apparent at the boundaries of our coaching and teaching domains, allowing us to learn together, with others, and from others. We gained a deeper understanding of our teaching and coaching within this landscape of practice, enabling us to take stock of our individual and shared learning. The process has also sensitized us to possible learning opportunities in the future.
Developing a Sense of Belonging in Spaces for Community Curricular Collaboration
This study documents the experiences of co-constructing curricula toward educating the public about the lifeways of a local Indigenous community. As part of a social studies methods course, we are exploring the ways to create meaningful field experiences toward overcoming harmful curricular oversights in elementary education. I investigate my initial sense of belonging through participation as a new member of this Indigenous Collective (IC), and the experience of creating curricular artifacts with preservice teachers through guidance and support from Indigenous and non-indigenous community members. These outcomes inform organizational elements for navigating, what I conceptualize as sites of curricular dissonance, through the perspective of Indigenous leaders, a community teacher, a preservice teacher, and a teacher educator. Findings describe the nature of this collaborative space which fosters curricular agency, mutual learning and teaching, and a sense of belonging. This research investigates how the tensions inherent in this work become sites for teaching and learning, when community teacher educators inform the design of public justice-oriented curricula.
Living Up to Expectations
This collaborative self-study discusses how we, two Iceland-based inclusive practitioners, position ourselves as critical friends to each other and to Team-Hokkaido in Japan, as we endeavored to support them in developing inclusive practices. The purpose of this study is to use collaborative inquiry to understand the nature of our critical friendship with Team-Hokkaido to better comprehend their expectations towards our roles. The goal is to enhance our future collaboration as critical friends to Team-Hokkaido to support their inclusive practices. Our research procedures were emergent and intentionally designed to be both structured and open-ended. Data collection took place in Japan in 2019. The data include participants’ presentation materials, our research journals, and personal notes from the study camp. Our post-camp discussions were recorded to enhance our data analysis. Through our discussion we felt doubt in using the term 'critical friends' when collaborating with Team-Hokkaido. Although the reasons for our doubts varied, our analysis brought us a new understanding of ourselves as critical friends. Importantly, we learned that critical friendship should always be pursued from an equal foundation. In the future, we need to explore our roles with Team-Hokkaido while reminding them that learning from experience should be a mutual endeavor.
Learning About Self Through a Multi-Institution Inquiry Into New Teacher Preparedness Post-COVID
Six researchers from five different institutions in different regions of the United States came together through a chance meeting in a virtual conference in the summer of 2021. They found they shared a common concern: the impact on new teachers' preparedness and confidence who had had their preservice educations interrupted and altered as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. For over 16 months, they have collaborated to develop and carry out large-scale, mixed methods, multi-institutional study that included collecting and analyzing survey data and focus group interviews from alumni of their five universities’ teacher preparation programs. The self-study investigation described in this chapter explores how working collaboratively and interrogating the consequences of the pandemic for our former students led to insights into our own practices and identities as teacher educators. What we did not anticipate was how challenging it would be to design and carry out mixed methods, multi-institution research, nor did we anticipate how much we would enjoy the community-building process of working together across institutions. We share findings related to our three research questions: What did we learn about ourselves and our institutions through our work together designing a mixed methods large-scale research project? What unintended learning opportunities arose as a result of working together? What did we learn about the formation of new research groups?
Experience As a Clinical Faculty Associate Shifting Teacher and Teacher Educator Identity
This is a study of the identity development of Clinical Faculty Associates (CFAs) through the sharing and analyzing of our stories of our experiences moving from our roles as teachers to our roles as teacher educators. Through analysis of shared stories of experience, we identified four themes. We provide a narrative as an exemplar of each theme and then provide an analysis of the narrative provided to expand on and anchor the theme. Our findings indicate the importance of using CFAs as a mechanism for renewing schools and teacher education programs.
Exploring the Role of Mentorship, Resistance, and Affirmation
In 2021, our professional paths crossed, reuniting us virtually as we began to share our leadership and mentorship experiences in relation to our current leadership roles. It led us to engage in self-study research to evaluate the reasons behind the lack of formal training when taking on leadership and mentorship roles. Adapting through times of uncertainty and ambiguity, we aim to spotlight how educators in leadership roles can support and be each other’s “critical friend.” Through a self-study approach, our research highlighted the main challenges we faced and overcame as leaders and mentors during the 2021-2022 academic year. We emphasize the need for a support system to help navigate leadership challenges as being extremely beneficial in becoming effective and ethical leaders.
Enacting Theory-Practice Pedagogies
We, as teacher educators, here focus on threshold opportunities that exist within the matrix of relationships, practices, and theories–what we are calling the hybrid space of school and university communities. Our self-study research investigates thresholds of transition from people and partners to program and partnerships as we enact theory-practice pedagogies. Drawing on our professional learning over the past decade, we began implementing a Professional Development School PDS model in 2020. The context of the model is an integrated, school-based, professionally-oriented practicum in the final semester of a four-year teacher education program. We identified programmatic theory-practice pedagogies of in-school seminars, an extended and integrated clinical practicum, and faculty supervision of practicum as threshold opportunities.
"It helps us remember our why"
Teacher leadership is increasingly present in schools. However, there are concerns that teacher often do not receive training or support as they transition into teacher leadership. To counter this conception, the authors – consisting of a teacher educator and five new teacher leaders – created and participated in a self-study community of practice. The five teacher leaders were transitioning into formal roles as instructional coaches and desired a supportive learning space in which we could develop as teacher leaders. Using self-study research methods, we investigated our enactment of the learning community as a leadership development program. In researching the learning community, we identified internal and external factors that influenced our developmental readiness. We also recognized developmental processes enacted in the learning community that facilitated our professional development as instructional coaches. And, we recognized the impact of the community on constructing new meanings of instructional coaching and taking action in our school settings. We conclude by highlighting the necessity of supportive developmental programs like our community of practice if novice teacher leaders are to effectively enact their roles and responsibilities, and point to the need for participatory research conducted by teacher leaders to generate new insights into teacher leadership and its associated roles.
Looking Into the Rear-View Mirror While Moving Forward
Employing the “rear-view mirror” metaphor and taking a “reflective turn” back (Schön, 1991), this self-study employed narrative methods to reflectively examine (Schön, 1983) the ways in which past reciprocal interactions of the Portfolio Group (a collaborative teacher/teacher educator/research group) shape/influence/inform our current practice. Highlighted emergent themes include: 1) ways in which the group’s interactions advance the understanding of knowledge communities (Craig, 2007); 2) how optimal experiences of collaboration promote the desire for other collaborations; 3) the shaping influence of collaboration on practice in informative/reformative/transformative ways; and 4) the challenges of collaboration. This work makes an especially important contribution not only because of the number of members and the varying positions and subject matters they represent, but also because of the length of time the group has sustained itself. Our past experiences and knowledge inform/reform/transform our daily practice pushing us to continually seek those optimal experiences with colleagues in our new professional landscapes. The priceless value of a rear-view mirror while driving holds the same limitless value to ourselves and our peers and most importantly to the professional scholarly landscape. This is what this self-study into teaching and teacher education practices has yielded.
What Advice Would We Give Ourselves on the Threshold of a VUCA Environment?
The memory-work we have done over the past 2 years is synthesised as advice we would have given ourselves at the start of our careers and what we profess to know now that we are transitioning away from our institutions. The data is drawn from writing memories evoked by 6 prompts; 8 recorded Zoom discussions and re-interpretation of the data through dialogic inquiry. Our purpose is to offer our insights as we look back on our careers. We have focused this chapter on two prompts to discuss our collective memories of what research, teaching, and service have meant for us as academics and teacher educators. We also consider the advice we would give our younger selves now, in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environment.