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Reading and Teaching Ivor Goodson


Yvonne Downs

Ivor Goodson is an immense and vital contributor to the study of education and to educational research. His influence extends across continents, taking in theory and practice, and including topics as diverse as curriculum history and the history of school subjects; change management and reform; teachers’ lives and careers; professional and learning identities; narrative and educational policy and life politics. To all this he brings a coherence born of his convictions and his commitment to social justice. This book traces the contours of his morally inflected approach to scholarship, highlighting its contribution to a politics of transformation, all the while acknowledging and encapsulating the practical, passionate, principled humanity that continues to drive Goodson’s scholarship.
This book will be of interest to students and teachers of education, to teachers and educational researchers, as well as to those with a passion for the history and politics of education.
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Chapter 8. Narrative

Enduring Concerns …


Chapter 8


Are stories too egalitarian, too inclusive, for an educational system that seeks to select and foster certain groups but not others?

(Goodson, 2013, p. 4)

Before turning the spotlight on Ivor’s narrative scholarship itself, two points will serve by way of orientation. First, my treatment of it in this chapter reflects understandings that were formed during a “pedagogic encounter” with him that took the form of a conversation about aspects of his scholarship. This encounter will form the backbone of the next section on “Teaching Ivor Goodson.” In this sense this chapter does three things: it eases our transition from a focus on substantive issues to one that is orientated more toward methodological questions; it animates the central tenets of Ivor’s thinking on narrative pedagogy; and it instantiates the outcome of a particular narrative process advocated by him, namely the creation of a “third voice” that arises during such pedagogic encounters. Second, to avoid overrepetition of any one phrase, I refer to Ivor’s research and scholarship on, into, and about narrative (and narration) in a number of ways. Although he has used life history methodologically for his research into narrative, I am not alluding here to the suite of approaches that constitute narrative research as such.

There are three overlapping and interwoven strands to Ivor’s study of narrative: development of theories of narrative (Goodson, 2013); investigation of the forms and applications of narrative learning (Goodson et al...

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