Narrative-Based Research for Social Change
Edited By Ahmet Atay and Mary Z. Ashlock
Chapter One: Communication, Teaching and Learning, and Faculty Disability: Lessons from a Personal Narrative
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Communication, Teaching AND Learning, AND Faculty Disability
Lessons from a Personal Narrative
PETER M. KELLETT, ALISON N. BUCKLEY AND MELISSA J. FRAME
There is no true word that is not at the same time a praxis. Thus, to speak a true word is to transform the world.
—FREIRE (1970, P. 68)
In the study of disability and communication as it pertains to teaching and learning, there is considerable work that focuses on the experiences of, and advocacy for, students with disabilities (Hodge & Preston-Sabin, 1997; Oliver & Dalrymple, 2008; Vogel, Adelman, & Lerner, 1993). There are meaningful and valuable learning opportunities also to be gained from examining the experiences of faculty members who teach with disabilities (Smith, 2013). We explore the experience of Melissa Frame, a professor of speech communication at Clearwater Christian College, who has central vision blindness. Our analysis is based on curiosity, guided by the ethos of Freire’s quote above, about how she advocates for herself as she transforms the classroom and surrounding world of relationships by speaking truthfully, authentically, and artfully about her disability while focusing on the everyday business of being an excellent teacher. Likewise, we are also curious about how her ← 11 | 12 → personal narrative speaks to broader truths about the communicative struggles, needs, and vulnerabilities of a disabled faculty member, as well as the successful negotiations of identity and working agreements with students to...
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