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While I am my hair my hair is me - literary analysis of a narrative inquiry into teacher identity formation

Resource type
Thesis type
(Dissertation) Ph.D.
Date created
This dissertation had its genesis in experiences of a life, a pedagogic performance of aspects of that life, a pedagogic story that became an artefact of that performance and still more aspects of that life, my life. In moving from experience to performance to story, revelations about my life surfaced: some in and during the living of that life, new and different other understandings within and without the pedagogic performance, and still others from the fixing of the performance into a script. Other revelations about my story of my self came from applying the techniques of literary analysis to the script written from that performance. The purpose of this dissertation is to discuss the idea that literary analysis of personal narratives brings a new lens and therefore, perhaps, altered discourse and increased depth to the fields of pedagogic stories, teacher inquiry, narrative inquiry, and self study. This dissertation proposes that within narrative inquiry self-written narratives could be made richer by literary analysis or close reading of the narrative itself. Literary analysis in this dissertation refers to an attempt at thorough examination of literary, language, narrative and related techniques used by an author in a piece of literary writing, such as a narrative of teacher identity formation. Contained within this dissertation is the script of a performance piece turned prose poem, which becomes the subject of the author's own close reading. Through this close reading understandings are reached, revelations are encountered and the author and analyzer of the narrative comes to a changed understanding of his teacher identity. This dissertation proposes that those exploring story and engaging in narrative inquiry in educational research, consciously, unconsciously, with guidance, or alone, include figurative language which speaks as powerfully and as clearly as the denotative structures of the words that they use. This dissertation demonstrates through the examination of the author's own narrative how narrative inquiry can be enriched in meaning making through a practice of close reading and literary analysis. The dissertation proposes that arrival at the phenomenological epoché might provide space for new self-understanding arrived at through techniques derived from the study of literature.
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Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Fels, Lynn
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