Soaring and Tumbling: An Autoethnography from Higher Education

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Abstract

Writing is also a way of knowing -a method of discovery and analysis. By writing in different ways, we discover new aspects of our topic and our relationship to it. Form and content are inseparable,[1] (Richardson, 2000. p.923). In Fields of Play, Laurel Richardson explores the inextricable way in which working in academia has affected her writing, how writing has affected her sense of self and how her sense of self has affected her role in academia, and so on and so on. It is a weave that is complicated and imperfect. It makes complete sense. In previous work (Moriarty, 2015) I have argued that a splintered and multi-layered text is suitable for reflecting lived experiences and that this style of writing responds directly to Kant's notions of enlightenment (Kant, 2009). Writing in 1794, Kant suggested that an enlightened reading can take place when the text empowers the reader to evolve past a self-imposed immaturity and have confidence in their own understanding, appreciation and/or criticism without explicit guidance from another (in this case, the author). In this chapter, I present fragments of my lived experiences via a split text that uses poetry, memoir, prose and reflexive writing to explore how my autobiographical stories have impacted on my teaching practice. I hope that the process of uncovering and recovering stories will help me to better understand where some of my strategies for teaching are rooted and how they have evolved. I hope that this might have relevance for my colleagues working in education and people wondering what teaching is and can be like. As with all autoethnographic work, I cannot make any absolute claim on any absolute truth, nor would I wish to. As someone who has been through the education system in the UK, trained to be a teacher in higher education (HE) and is now a principal lecturer at the University of Brighton, I feel I have something personal and professional to say about teaching - who of us hasn't? - and I hope this might trigger reflection, discussion and understanding on the part of the reader and help them to value their own experiences in terms of how they can enrich our teaching and also our individual and shared learning. [1] Richardson, L. (1997) Fields of Play: Constructing an Academic Life. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSelf-narrative and pedagogy: stories of experience within teaching and learning
EditorsMichael Hayler, Jessica Moriarty
Place of PublicationRotterdam
PublisherSense
Pages135-146
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9789463510226
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2017

Publication series

NameStudies in Professional Life and Work

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