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Reading and Teaching Ivor Goodson

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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 10. Biography

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Chapter 10

Biography

The conversation I had with Ivor did not begin here but as he consistently argues that the starting point for understanding, for theory, and indeed for teaching and learning is the individual’s life story, it would have made little sense to have started elsewhere. In the previous section I emphasized that Ivor does not position the life story as “The Truth.” It is instead a departure point for a collaboration whose aim is the creation of knowledge that challenges the status quo, the hegemonic, and the monolithic. Therefore, I am not suggesting that we will get to “know” Ivor Goodson in what follows. This is not a “scoop.” But it does provide an insight into and makes some sense of the “meaningful narrative” (Goodson, 2011, p. 48) Ivor employs in his own identity project. In concentrating more on the personal motivations and the “back story” to some of his scholarly foci we have the chance for a richer, more layered understanding of the significance of coherence, consistency, and integrity, not only within his scholarship but between his scholarly endeavors and other aspects of his life. This chapter epitomizes what is meant by “life/work.”

A personal account, then, provides a different vantage point from which to view his theoretical, substantive, and methodological approaches and offers a glimpse into the “inner workings” of his processes. It also animates and substantiates the concepts that constitute the conceptual lens that I fashioned for “Reading Ivor...

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