Loving Education for What it Might Become: A Narrative Inquiry into the Experiences of Teachers Working in Anti-Oppressive Education
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It has been my lived experience as a teacher that anti-oppressive education makes significant positive impact in the lives of students. It is also my experience that there can be barriers to having a socially just educational practice. This research began as I wondered about the ways other educators were teaching social justice education, and what their experiences were. This narrative inquiry explores the lived experiences and stories of two teachers who work or have worked in schools promoting social justice education. In narrative inquiry participants story their lived experiences. The two participants for this study are Jenna and Rae. Jenna and Rae are both high school teachers that have educational backgrounds in anti-racist education. They demonstrate a commitment to anti-oppressive education through disrupting dominant discourses and normalizing counter hegemonic discourses as ways to achieve socially just practices. Their experiences offer perspectives and stories about how to build upon or find promising practices in anti-oppressive education. The research wonders of this thesis asked the following questions: how have they come to know anti-oppressive pedagogy? What has supported them in doing so? The research is derived from individual semi-structured interviews, and a narrative account of each teacher is presented and inquired into within the three dimensions of inquiry: temporality, sociality, and place (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000). The two teachers’ stories to live by offer valuable insights and reflections moving forward in social justice education. This study revealed the meaningful impact anti-oppressive education has had on the lives of the participant’s students, and ways they have practiced anti-oppressive education; as well, offers a critique of current barriers, and ways to move forward with promising practices. This study has taught me about current teaching strategies to engage students in critical and engaged thinking on social issues. I have also learned about experiences disrupting dominance, and ways that can be done effectively and compassionately. Participants shared the necessity of having staff and administrative support in their anti-oppressive teaching. Additionally, they explained that ways to help achieve support from staff and administration are through creating networks and teacher education. Furthermore, both participants explained the significance of having teacher education. It was suggested that this can be achieved through school systems offering ongoing professional development in anti-racist and anti-oppressive education. Ultimately, through sharing our stories together, we were able to build trust and vulnerability, experience kinship, and learn from each other about ways we can continue to challenge race class and gender in our teaching roles.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteeMurphy, Shaun; Balzer, Geraldine; Miller, Dianne
Copyright DateSeptember 2019