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Narratives of Inclusive Teaching

Stories of <i>Becoming</i> in the Field

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Srikala Naraian and Sarah L. Schlessinger

Teachers are increasingly challenged by dilemmas of practice as they negotiate their commitments to equity for students from historically marginalized communities, including students with disabilities, against the demands of their school settings. This book seeks to understand the ways in which teachers’ engagements with their schooling contexts evoke varied forms of inclusive practice. It narrates the experiences of seven novice teachers who entered the field deeply committed to inclusive practice. It documents their conflicts, joys and struggles within the collectivities in which they were embedded. In doing thus, the book discloses the many unpredictable trajectories of practice that encompass the complex work of teaching for inclusion.

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Reflections on Agentive Maneuverings

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For most novice teachers, the transition into the first year as a teacher of record generates a range of emotions (excitement, apprehension, anxiety, confidence, resentment, surprise) and the teachers in this book were not unique in the process they experienced as they navigated the surprises and challenges of their first year of teaching. What has been particularly instructive for us, as their former teachers, are the ways in which their stories have confirmed the unpredictability of the trajectories of practices brought on by commitments to inclusion; they have compelled us to draw on a range of theoretical frames to help us understand their becomings with greater complexity. For each one, the commitment to be an inclusive educator was never in doubt; yet, the continual encounter with complex, multi-layered situations in schools produced an affective orientation to that identity that left its meanings in flux and as never self-evident. In that regard, we are struck by the unmistakable stance of self-reflexivity adopted by each of them. Though we were well aware of this during their pre-service program of study, their continued reflections on their practice (of which we have a mere glimpse in their writings for this book) are a reminder that our work, as researchers, relies on their capability for such practice, without which this book may not have been possible. For that, we are deeply grateful to Taiyo, Molly, Peter, Harley, Jessica, Adam, and Rena.

Reconciling Narrative Agency with De-Centering Moves

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