Body and soul: creative people who teach

  • Loveless, Avril (PI)
  • Hyde, Suzanne (CoI)
  • Colwell, Jen (CoI)

Project Details


This research focused on the narratives of learning in the lives of eight creative people who teach. It was a pilot study to help us understand how to approach narrative enquiry in exploring the relationship between people’s creative life and their practice and pedagogy as educators.

The narratives were used to inform professional development within the education workforce. The research is valuable to those who are interested in understanding how people can be good teachers in the wider world beyond school and college, and what we might learn from them when we think about being good teachers in mainstream education.

The objectives of this research were to:

> theorise the relationship between creativity and teacher knowledge
> improve understanding about the ways of knowing that are reflected in the pedagogic relationship between learners and teachers, and the contexts in which they live and work together
> explore the concepts of depth, scope and reach in teacher knowledge in these times of challenge and change.

Key findings

The narratives of the creative artists, scientist, designers, playwright, and performers helped us to identify three themes in their being ready, willing and able to teach others:

Conceptual depth
The conceptual depth of educators’ understanding relates to the questions of knowledge in subjects or domains, which identify and debate disciplinary structures, conceptual organisations and principles of enquiry. The participants demonstrated their depth of engagement in, and commitment to their chosen domains whilst recognising some of the interdisciplinary connections.

Contextual scope
An educator’s contextual scope is their awareness of their relationship to other people, ways of knowing, culture, politics and power within a wider context. They know where they fit – or not - in the landscape, and why what they do might matter and have value. Contextual scope is related to the Why? questions in the European Didaktik tradition, reflected in the relationship between knowing a subject and being human.

Pedagogic reach
Reach describes the ways in which educators make pedagogic connections with learners. This might be through the pedagogic content knowledge, the transposition and transformation of subject knowledge appropriate for learners. It is also through the repertoire of pedagogic strategies which teachers employ when they are ready, willing and able to teach.

The research was presented at the International Symposium on Narratives, Context and Learning at the University of Brighton in May 2011. This project was used as a pilot framework for another publication and further research.

Publication: Loveless, A (2012) 'Body and soul: A study of narratives of creative people who teach' in I.F. Goodson, A.M. Loveless, D. Stephens (Eds.) Explorations in Narrative Research, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers
Effective start/end date1/01/1031/07/10


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